By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4)– A doctor turned state lawmaker says the best way to reform our health care system is for the government to set prices.

Sen. Irene Aguilar weighed-in as Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, released a plan that calls for restoring the subsidies to insurance companies that Pres. Donald Trump pulled and giving states more flexibility when it comes to things like Medicaid.

Gov. John Hickenlooper with Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Penn. Gov. Tom Wolf (credit: CBS)

“People don’t realize what’s happening and how many, I can just call it games, are being played, at the end of the day, with their lives,” said Aguilar, a primary care doctor for 20 years.

The Democrat representing Denver says the reforms proposed by the governors do little to change a system where we spend an average of $10,000 per-person, per-year.

Sen. Irene Aguilar (D) Denver (credit: CBS)

“This is just a bunch of ways to scrape a little bit off here a scrape a little bit off here. I think if I could wave my magic wand and have one thing it would be uniformity in pricing.”

(credit: CBS)

Because our health is priceless, she says, the industry can charge whatever it wants, “And so regular market forces don’t work because the value of the product is infinite.”

Copter4 flew over the state Capitol (credit: CBS)

It’s also because most of us don’t see the bill, she says. Insurance pays or, in many cases, the government.

“Not that you shouldn’t make a good salary and shouldn’t make a profit, but you could take 10-20 percent on top of that. We have people taking 5,000-10,000 percent on top of that.”

(credit: CBS)

She’s carried bills to prevent prescription price gouging and increase transparency in pricing. Most have failed. The issue has become so partisan and the lobby is so powerful.

Aguilar is term limited this year, but Dr. Aguilar is not giving up, “It’s going to take the people rising up. I don’t think the politicians will be able to do it. There’s just too much money.”

Shaun Boyd is CBS4’s political specialist. She’s a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.


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