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Business Loves SB-200

May 1, 2011

In a letter to Republican legislators, Tony Gagliardi, state director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, said Republicans need to line up behind Senate Bill 200. He said passage of the bill is “the largest issue facing Colorado small business in at least a decade.”

Indeed it is; I have no doubt that business is behind SB-200. It is good for business because, as I’ve written before, it gets small business out from behind the mandates of Obamacare. But it is not good for citizens and taxpayers.

There are three tired arguments used in favor of SB-200. All have been debunked but supporters continue to flog them.

  • It’s a free-market exchange like Utah’s. There is nothing in the bill that says anything about what the exchange will look like. And Utah’s exchange is at best a failure of limited impact on the overall insurance pool in the state.
  • It won’t be taken over by Obamacare–it’s pre-emptive and will prevent Obamacare. In 2014, if upheld, it will be the Secretary of Health’s decision whether the state exchange meets muster or not. If not, no federal money. Colorado’s Department of  Healthcare Policy is already using federal money.
  • We have to do something.  Doing nothing is not an option. Why not? They can’t answer that question. Nor have they explored other options. They have let the Senate Democrats own the agenda.

As reported in the Denver Post, Gagliardi also wrote “Many of our Colorado legislators fear the wrath of Tea Party activists who have made support of Senate Bill 200, which would establish a health-care exchange similar to Utah’s, a needless ideological litmus test on which to oppose Republican lawmakers in primary elections.”

Legislators should fear the wrath of Tea Party activists. The difference between a free-market solution and socialized, state-run medicine is in no way a needless ideological distinction. We all agree that we want free market solutions. It’s just that the House Republican leadership has failed to convince us that SB-200 is free market.

They have also failed to convince Senate Republicans who, while in the minority, have stood firm against it. If we could have won only one chamber last November, we could wish that we had won the Senate instead of the House.

But wishes don’t get things done, any more than hoping this bill will create a free market will make that a reality.

If you can, go up to Denver this week as this bill is heard in the House, look the legislators in the eye and tell them you don’t want this bill. It may not prevent the bill from being passed if leadership want it bad enough, but they will not be surprised when they are opposed in the next election.

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