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No Insurance? But You Get a Price List at the Hospital

02/07/2015 11:16 am ET | Updated Apr 07, 2015

Conservatives are still wondering around, from interview to interview, saying they want to dump Obamacare. And here's "the key thing," as articulated by freshman Colorado State Senator Tim Neville on the radio Saturday:

Neville:The key thing is the Republican Party, and those of us up in the Senate and the House, need to make sure we have something to replace it, and we're working on a little bill along those lines this year.

Neville didn't spill the beans on his Obamacare alternative right away, but he circled back to it later in the interview, aired on KNUS' Weekend Wake Up.

Turns out, he was referring to his bill requiring hospitals to list the prices of common procedures, when third parties aren't paying for it.

Neville @10:45 below: Going back to the health care, what do we have that's going to replace this? I have a pretty moderate bill requiring transparency and requiring--and I hate to require any business to do anything--but allowing people to actually get prices so that if they want to pay for a health-care procedure, they actually have an opportunity to get a price instead of having to go through the billing department. And if they don't have insurance, they really don't know what they are going to get charged, if they just want to pay for their procedure. We have so many people in high-deductible plans--$6,000 deductibles or higher--and so many people who have decided, 'I'm not going to mess with it.'

If we allow the forces of the marketplace to be unleashed, I'm a huge fan of high-deductible programs, health-saving accounts that are tax-deductible, and the ability for people to have skin in the game to make important decisions, rational decisions.

A price list, so people without insurance know exactly how much they probably can't pay? Skin in the game!

Maybe the idea has merit, but Neville is overflowing with simplicity to frame this bill as anything related to the Obamacare alternative that conservatives are desperately seeking. And of course, if he says it in front of a real reporter, or even if he doesn't, he should be asked about it.

In Neville's case, the anti-Obamacare passion runs deep. He said Saturday that he challenged fellow Republican Jim Kerr for the Jeffco Senate seat after Kerr went "off the rails" and supported the bill (SB-200), which established Colorado's market-based health-insurance exchange and had the support of the business community and GOP leader Rep. Amy Stephens, among others, at the time.

Neville, beginning at 4:50 below: "Senate bill 200 was what put me over the edge to be involved in politics, when I was running for a vacancy. There was a Republican legislator that wanted to move up from the House to the Senate. I actually campaigned for him, considered him as a friend. But he kind of got off the rails, along with the other people who voted for 200. And people weren't getting it. Sometimes you can send a message with a phone call or a letter and sometimes you've got to have a little bit more involvement.... One of my first bills was to repeal the state health care exchange, and, of course, it fell one vote short."

You wouldn't expect KNUS talk-show host Chuck Bonniwell, who interviewed Neville Saturday, to ask about the GOP's real alternatives to Obamacare, but other reporters should pick up the slack, whether it's Neville or Sen. Cory Gardner.

Maybe the idea has merit, but Neville is overflowing with audacity to frame this bill as anything related to the Obamacare alternative that conservatives are desperately seeking. And of course, if he says it in front of a real reporter, or even if he doesn't, he should be asked about it.

In Neville's case, the anti-Obamacare passion runs deep. He said Saturday that he challenged fellow Republican Jim Kerr for the Jeffco Senate seat after Kerr went "off the rails" and supported the bill (SB-200), which established Colorado's market-based health-insurance exchange and had the support of the business community and GOP leader Rep. Amy Stephens, among others, at the time.

Neville, beginning at 4:50 below: "Senate bill 200 was what put me over the edge to be involved in politics, when I was running for a vacancy. There was a Republican legislator that wanted to move up from the House to the Senate. I actually campaigned for him, considered him as a friend. But he kind of got off the rails, along with the other people who voted for 200. And people weren't getting it. Sometimes you can send a message with a phone call or a letter and sometimes you've got to have a little bit more involvement.... One of my first bills was to repeal the state health care exchange, and, of course, it fell one vote short."

You wouldn't expect KNUS talk-show host Chuck Bonniwell, who interviewed Neville Saturday, to ask about the GOP's real alternatives to Obamacare, but other reporters should pick up the slack, whether it's Neville saying it --or Sen. Cory Gardner.