Health care jumped to the top of the list of contentious dinner table subjects, right up there with religion and politics, during the debate about the Affordable Care Act in 2009 and 2010.
Views about the health care system were strongly held and loudly expressed.
These days, the debate tends to be quieter, and many people are a bit happier. But that doesn’t mean disagreements have disappeared.
In fact, the 2015 Colorado Health Access Survey finds a range of views among Coloradans when they were asked whether the state’s health care system is meeting the needs of their family.
Four of five Douglas County residents (81.3 percent) said the system is meeting the needs of their family, the region with the sunniest viewpoint. (This is Health Statistics Region (HSR) 3 on the accompanying map.)
Drive over to the Four Corners, though, and you’ll be having a much different conversation. In the counties of Dolores, San Juan, Montezuma, Archuleta and La Plata (HSR 9), just under two-thirds (63.8 percent) of residents agree that the system meets the needs of their family.
That’s nearly a 20-point difference on the health happiness scale.
There are most likely good reasons for the differing outlooks. For example, 11.0 percent of Four Corner residents are without health insurance compared with just 2.4 percent in Douglas County. And when it comes to the Colorado Access to Care Index, which measures such things as barriers to receiving care, Douglas County pulls in a score of 8.2 on a 10-is-best scale compared with 7.4 in the rural Four Corners area.
Rounding out the top five regions with the highest percentage of residents agreeing the health care system meets the needs of their family are primarily metro Denver counties: Gilpin, Clear Creek, Park and Teller counties (HSR 17) at 78.6 percent; Denver County (HSR 20) at 78.0 percent; and Arapahoe County (HSR 15) and Boulder and Broomfield counties (HSR 16) tied at 77.5 percent.
The bottom five features more rural areas, including: Saguache, Mineral, Rio Grande, Alamosa, Conejos and Costilla counties (HSR 8) at 64.5 percent; Mesa County (HSR 19) at 66.8 percent; Garfield, Grand, Eagle, Pitkin and Summit counties (HSR 12) at 67.8 percent; and Weld County (HSR 18) at 68.5 percent.