Colorado Voices

I know a lot of people are using what they have gotten

Sarah, Summit County resident: “I work as a seasonal contractor, so I only have health care provided to me for six months out of the year. I just qualified for Medicaid, so we’ll see how that works out. I know a lot of people are using what they have gotten. Once they got the health care reform act and got on the website, then a lot of people have started going to the doctor more, so that’s probably a good thing.”

A lot of [people] are getting dropped from their coverage

Frankie, Colorado Springs Resident: “From the friends that I have had, a lot of them are getting dropped from their coverage and having to find coverage on their own because for some reason they’re no longer qualified with the programs that they were previously qualified for and purchasing on their own. Now all of a sudden they can’t.”

I support it even if I’m paying $16 more a month

Margaret, Summit County resident: “Previous to doing a raw food thing, I did a retail store and had insurance, but I had a fairly large deductible so that I could afford my monthly insurance payments. After the reform when I went to a health insurance broker, my cost per month actually went up, but my deductible is less. But, being I’m pretty healthy I don’t really use that very much, so it ends up I’m kind of paying a little bit more per year.”

A lot of people aren’t buying into it

Angelo, Colorado Springs Resident: “I’ve noticed that a lot of people aren’t buying into it. Most people I know aren’t even paying for health care—they’d rather pay the surcharge at the end of the year rather than be coerced into some kind of insurance plan that is forced upon them.”

I think the VA system is excellent

Clayton, Montrose County Resident: “I’m a veteran, so I’m fully covered through the health care. I really don’t relate to a lot of people about the health situation because it doesn’t affect me. I feel for everybody having to battle with the different choices and everything the government is doing, but it really doesn’t affect me.”

We don’t like the government plan

Yuma County resident: “We don’t like the government plan—the Obama plan. It’s not what we want. We want to be able to say what kind of insurance we can have and where we can buy it. I’m firmly against that, and I will vote against anyone who voted for it. In this election, it’ll tell the story–we do not want Obamacare. We do not want all that government taking over our lives.”

A big, big benefit for our country

Corina, Summit County resident: “I think mostly people are complaining about the fact that their health insurance policies went up, and we’re in a community where health care is very expensive. We have some very expert physicians here, and so they charge what they need to. I don’t know if because of what the affordable health care requires now, they had to get a better policy. So I don’t know if that’s the reason, but I think it’s probably a combination of both. I think the fact that people are getting insurance that didn’t have insurance before—that’s a big, big benefit for our country and the people in our country. ”

There’s been a big change

Robert, Montrose County Resident: “There’s been a big change with the health reform. Some of the jobs around here are lower-paying jobs and they’re not willing to go through with following with insurance policies to keep us as employees covered with health insurance. We’re having to go elsewhere to find our own independent insurance, and that’s even affecting our weekly pay. As a father of three kids I have to support myself and the children and not having insurance coverage really limits me to rely either on the state or have to go to an outside source to keep my family covered.”

It’s a pretty big deal in terms of people’s ability to access care

Jamie Smith, Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Penrose – St. Francis Health Services: “I think Medicaid expansion is the most tangible effect we have seen here [at the hospital]. There has been a pretty large growth in folks who have applied and received Medicaid at this point, and that’s a population who for the most part is going from uninsured to insured by Medicaid.”

It is really expensive to have health care

Jodi, Summit County resident: “I think the general consensus from the people I’ve spoken with are they’re pretty excited about it. It’s to help people. I think something needed to be done. I don’t know exactly what or how, but I think it’s moving in the right direction, and hopefully it will go the right way, you know, work for everybody.”

I wish I was more well-informed

Molly, Summit County resident: “I don’t understand how health insurance works exactly. I wish that I was a little bit more well-informed, because I moved here from Massachusetts. I went to do my general, annual check-up and it ended up costing me $450, even though I have health insurance.”

You hear such emotional things

Margo, Yuma County resident: “At first I was very confused, so I ended up looking up things, Googling things, trying to find out more. Because you hear such emotional things.”

I’m just going to go with the flow

Peggy, Montrose County Resident: “I’m excited about [preventive care benefits included in the Affordable Care Act]. That’s really important to me. I won’t go to the doctor unless I’m pretty much on my deathbed, but I like doing the preventive care. I think that’s really important. That’s a good thing.”

Accessibility is probably the most important part

Ryan, a Summit County resident: “I think it’s about time that we had a national health care system that allowed everybody equal access to health care and to quality health care. The individual mandate that requires that every single person does have health care is only in the end gonna drive down premiums because insurance companies operate on risk, and the more people that are involved in any one organization is gonna reduce risk and therefore drive down premiums.”

It’s taking too long

Lela, Colorado Springs resident: “Ever since Obama started this health care thing, and the website’s been up and down, it’s been really hard for everyone to get where they gotta go. I mean, if you don’t get it, it’s gonna take a minute to get to Medicaid, and then after that, you know, your bills are racking up, and it’s a mess.”

It’s about time

Donna, Summit County Resident: “It’s about time. I mean, it really is. With being self-employed, and even before when I had a business in Chicago, and I was paying for all my employees, and I would always give them health insurance and pay for it. But now you know, being out here especially, being self-employed. My husband has two part-time jobs, no health insurance. And we were lucky to find some decent health insurance. But now with the health reform, I mean, we’ve been waiting. We’ve been counting the days.”

I’m all for helping out people to help themselves

Ann Gabbett, Naturita teacher: “I don’t want to be paying for insurance for people who don’t contribute to our country. I think if you are a contributing adult, even if you’re working less, if you’re making minimum wage–because sometimes that’s the only kind of job you can find around here–[then you should get some assistance]. But they’re working, so for goodness sake help them out!”

Estoy confundida

Virginia, Yuma County resident: “Estoy confundida. Por que no se exactamente que ha dentro.” (I am confused. I don’t know exactly what is in [the health reform law]).

At the right place and the right time

Pam McManus, CEO of Peak Vista Community Health Centers: “Our community has a lot of amazing, caring people to include some incredible professionals–experts in the health care industry. Together we strive to work to find solutions to access barriers throughout our region.”

Very mixed feelings

Father Tema Nnamezie, Director of Mission Integration and Spiritual Care at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center: “I am surprised about those who don’t want to give it a try. Especially those who don’t really have any other option.”

Something did need to be done

Alexandra, Yuma County resident: “I don’t know a lot about it, but I think something did need to be done. I don’t know necessarily if it’s right or wrong what was done, but I think it’s a step in the right direction of trying to fix it or do something better.”

Those that are trying to live through it

Andrea Anderson, HR Manager at Murphy Brown: “We had to hand out all the information on the marketplaces and things like that. We handed out all the sheets, all the information that we’re required by law to hand out, plus some because we’re trying to educate, to help people get online, get on the marketplace, find out where you are at. And we didn’t get questions.”

The whole thing makes me upset

Linda, Yuma County Resident: “The whole thing makes me upset, really, because I’m in a position where my health insurance was canceled so now I’m having to find new health insurance. Everyone in my family has their own individual policy with different carriers and three of us have to new insurance.”

It’s going to be eventual

Jessa, Summit County resident: “The people I’ve talked to haven’t been as excited about [health reform] as you would think. I don’t think it’s a big issue either, though, for our age group. I don’t think it’s huge. We don’t really have to worry about too much going on with it right now. I imagine it will be soon when we have to actually deal with it.”

Nothing’s free

Mike, Montrose County resident: “I think a lot of people thought when the health reform thing was being talked about that they were going to get free health insurance. I think there was just a lot of—well, no one knew what was in it, right? So once it was passed, now we’re finding out what’s in it, a lot of people thought that they were going to get something for free, and what do you know? What do they say? Nothing’s free in this world, unless someone else pays for it.”

A chance to have insurance

Silvia, Yuma County Resident: “I’m excited. I’ve seen in my work a lot of people with no health coverage and haven’t had health coverage for a long time. And so I’m excited to see this happening. I know there’s a strong opposition, especially here, against it, but I’m very for it, and so I try to give my point of view to people that I know have gone through medical stuff. I don’t see how they’re against it. I say, ‘How can you be against it? You’ve needed it yourself.’”

What if something happens to me?

Brittany, a single mother in Colorado Springs, shares her story of receiving treatment for free through the aid of a local organization. After giving birth five years ago, Brittany developed a painful hernia that she was unable to have treated. The necessary medical procedure was too expensive for her to afford, but Brittany’s clinic helped her get the operation so she could continue to provide for her family.

My initial reaction

Jason, Colorado Springs resident: “[My] initial reaction [to health reform] is that I don’t really think it’s much a part for the government to get involved with. My opinion is that the government can kind of stay out of that and let it be run by local organizations or other places like that.”

A work in progress

Mary, Montrose County resident: “My husband and I both support health care reform in this country. I think a big problem is that we have a for-profit health care system and I think that the costs have gotten out of control. I’m disappointed, of course, that the website had such a disastrous start. I feel like all the information we’re getting now is negative and I am aware that there are some positive things that are happening.”

We don’t really talk about it

Mike, Summit County resident: “I don’t think I’ve had one conversation about it since I’ve been here. If it’s not related to skiing, I don’t think I’ve talked about it. I don’t think I’ve talked about it since I’ve moved to Colorado.”

Literally nothing left

Tamara Drangstveit, Executive Director at Family and Intercultural Resource Center: “Before the marketplace went live we were incredibly optimistic. For a long time we have known that the number one causes of a financial crisis for the families we work with is an unexpected medical bill. We’ve known that for a long time. And there just weren’t options for those families, so we were really excited. I think now we are still potentially excited about the marketplace, but the rates we have found are still unaffordable for the majority of Summit County residents.”

Only what you need

Dale, Yuma County resident: “I don’t think you should be forced to have health insurance, mainly because people that can’t afford it don’t have it for the reason they can’t afford it. And if it’s available now at a higher rate, why do they think you can afford it then? Because I can’t.”