- Tuesday, July 15, 2008, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Steamboat Springs Tom Bost, a highly specialized private practice physician from Denver, has a proposal:
"If I said you can have better coverage for less money, and never go bankrupt from it and never lose, what do you think? I think you'd say, 'Well, where do I sign up?'" Bost said, explaining his position in support of a single-payer universal health care system.
On Tuesday, Bost will present his view on health care at a public forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Routt County. The event is free and runs from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Yampa Valley Electric Association building on 10th Street.
Bost said he hopes to debunk some of the myths and misconceptions about the state of health care in Colorado and the United States, and talk about what works and what doesn't, how the U.S. measures up to other developed countries and where the money goes.
"People can form their own conclusions. I'm not sort of allowed or sanctioned to stand up on a political soapbox, but I think the prescription is pretty obvious as far as what ails us," Bost said, explaining his view that high costs in American health care come from excessive profit and overhead for pharmaceutical companies.
"I think the biggest misconception is that medicine is costly because of something intrinsic to health care itself," Bost said. "The real honest-to-god fact is that when you look at the money, when you follow the money, the reason that the U.S. spends twice as much as any other country is that 30 percent of our costs are in the form of profits for insurance companies and drug companies."
Marda Frazer, a member of the League of Women Voters of Routt County, said the league has studied the health care issue for years and is concerned with affordability and the number of people who are uninsured or underinsured.
"We - as is everyone in the nation - are concerned with what's going on in health care in this country," Frazer said. She said the league is leaning toward supporting a single-payer system but would look at "anything that would be an improvement to the present system."
Bost said his answer to affordable, universal health care is a nonprofit system - a system he thinks will be in place within the next two years.
"I think that when middle-class Americans are losing their health care benefits and they're going bankrupt : these are people who are like you, whose employers have made them part-time instead of full-time so they don't get benefits. So you - person with a job - when you can't afford health care, when those are the people who not only vote, but also can't afford things. When those people show up to their congressperson's door and say, 'I am tired of you listening to that lobbyist, I want you to listen to me,' that's when things will happen," he said.
Bost said he is interested to see which health care issues come up at the intersection of a service industry and a rural economy, and he said he has become involved in grassroots political movement in spite of his own interests.
"I'm one of those highly paid specialists. If there's anybody that's going to get dinged in this system, it's probably me. But here I am," he said.
"This is real, these numbers and these faces are real. And, to me, it's just unconscionable that we have this system that neglects a third of the people in the United States. I'm coming at it from a social justice standpoint as much as anything else."