Health care professors help students navigate constantly changing political landscape

DENVER -- With all the changes in the health care industry, it can be confusing to be a patient. It can be even more confusing if you’re a student trying to get in to the industry.

“Health care is a business and that’s what I tell my students,” Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Jeff Helton told Anne Trujillo on this weekend’s Politics Unplugged. “It’s a hard business because you’re trying to run a business. Trying to generate a margin to keep your business going. Trying to take care of patients that are sick and injured and may not always have the resources to pay their bills. So it’s a tough balancing act.”

Helton is an associate professor of health care management at Metro. 

"The political environment, if you take out the polarization sort of things, you have a lot of people with a vested interest in trying to preserve the health care system the way it is now,” Helton said. “Health care is one of the biggest industries in the United States. It accounts for almost a fifth of the gross domestic product of our country and so a lot of people do well in health care, so they are really pulling to keep things the same.”

Helton says people who want to purchase health insurance through the Connect for Health Colorado exchange have until December 15 to purchase their insurance if they want it to be effective January 1, 2018. He says those without insurance need to find a way to get it.

“One of the things we’ve seen since passage of the Affordable Care Act is that a lot of people have avoided financial problems just by having health insurance,” Helton told Trujillo. “Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act half of all bankruptcies in the United States were due to medical debt, so if you can find a way to get there, there are a lot of resources to help you depending on your income; you can get tax credits or premium credits to pay for that bill. Take a look at trying to get health care because since we’ve had connect for health Colorado, personal bankruptcies have dropped by over 50 percent.”

Politics Unplugged airs Sundays at 4 p.m. on Denver7.

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