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Here’s to a Healthy, Happy (and Funny!) 2015

January 5, 2015

CHI-ers are welcoming 2015 in our own nerdy fun way – with (mostly) health-related predictions for Colorado in the New Year. Whose predictions will be fulfilled? We will be sure to keep close tabs.

Our fearless leader, Michele, is thinking big about a case that challenges a major part of the Affordable Care Act: “CHI will be the first Colorado organization to publish on King v. Burwell.  Subsidies will be upheld on all exchanges (federal or state) but we’ll be prepared in either case. 5-4. Roberts swings.”

Amy Downs is placing bets on the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights: “During the 2015 session, Colorado legislators will have a heated debate about whether or not revenues from the hospital provider fee are subject to the TABOR.  After serious disagreement, they will ultimately decide that these fees are part of a ‘state enterprise’ and are therefore not subject to TABOR. This decision will allow the state to retain more revenue and eliminate TABOR tax refunds in 2016-17.”

Several CHI-ers are curious about health reform implementation and its implications on coverage. Sara Robbins predicts that “The Affordable Care Act (ACA) won't be repealed or replaced; however, it will probably be revised a lot.”

Jeff Bontrager expands on this idea. “We will see increased momentum among blue, red and purple states pursuing 1332 waivers, which allow states flexibility to transform their health insurance and delivery systems by opting out of key Affordable Care Act provisions in 2017,” Jeff says.

Tamara Keeney believes these reforms will affect coverage. “The 2015 Colorado Health Access Survey data (CHAS) will show uninsured rates down significantly from 2014 across the board, but especially for black and Hispanic Coloradans,” Tamara predicts.

Honing in on their research areas, Allie Morgan, Tasia Sinn and Jessica Fern have focused predictions for the New Year. Allie is betting that “as consumers demand increasingly accessible, transparent and personalized health information, they will make greater use of health care apps and data-sharing services (like patient portals) in 2015 than ever before.”

Jessica, who represents CHI at healthy schools and HEAL collaborations, predicts that “as Colorado schools will work to implement new nutrition standards for school meals and snacks, kids’ input and tastes will be taken into account. Who says healthy food can’t be kid friendly?”

Tasia, who focuses on Long Term Services and Supports, feels confident that “discussions and legislation around the issue of aging will cross the partisan divide.” More specifically, Jeff predicts that “proposed ‘Death with Dignity’ legislation will narrowly pass, but spark a passionate debate in Colorado about the benefits and costs of medical treatment provided at the end of life.”

It wouldn’t be a Colorado health policy discussion without a marijuana break.  Sara Schmitt predicts that “the edible marijuana products of 2015 will look different from those of 2014.”

Nina Roumell is betting that “Nebraska and Oklahoma will lose in the lawsuit against Colorado pot legalization.”

Hannah Wear predicts that “CHI will take a hands-on ‘participatory research’ approach to understanding these changes in edible marijuana products.”

Turning attention in-house, Anna Vigran hopes that CHI will surpass 3,000 twitter followers in 2015. (Help us get there! Follow @COHealthInst).

Jeff is anticipating the exciting debut of “Data Wonks! The Musical, scoring such hits as: “I Got Depressed When You Regressed,” “Your Love is In My Margin” and the tap number, “We Got an Ample Sample (And a Rainbow Overhead).”

Joe Hanel wins the predictions game around here: “On May 1st, outraged customers demand refunds for their ‘Men of CHI’ calendars when they discover the last eight months are blank.”

What do you predict will happen in 2015? What do you hope to see improve in health policy in Colorado in the year ahead? One thing’s for sure: the Colorado Health Institute will be reporting on it, so look for timely analyses of health policy happenings in the year to come.