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Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera in conversation at Axios' Health Care Vitals event. Photo: Danielle Lirette for Axios

This Tuesday, Axios' Sam Baker hosted an Expert Voices Live discussion in Denver, digging into the state of access and affordability in Colorado.

Why it matters: 25 state and local leaders — elected officials, experts in health care, health tech innovators, and advocates — discussed solutions to challenges in health care policy and providing equitable care.

Creating policy that serves all communities

A consistent theme throughout the morning's conversation was the importance of creating policy that could serve all communities and constituents, from individuals to businesses, rural to urban areas.

Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera, State of Colorado

  • On the 360 degree view of health: "All roads lead to health...if you look at all the cabinets from Agriculture all the way up to State Veterans and Military Affairs. Every Cabinet plays some role in health... If people don't have access to food you know they're not going to be healthy...If you look at education, the further people go in school, the healthier they're going to be. If you look at the environment, [when people] don't have to live in toxic situations they're going to be healthy."
  • On creating affordability while maintaining quality: "We want to make sure that we keep in mind that health care is a three-legged stool right now. Affordability is one of the big barriers, but we can't also ignore quality. Prevention and wellness is a big part of it too."
  • On the importance of transparency in creating effective policy: "If we can pull the curtain back and try and figure out what's driving health care costs, then we can address those issues."
Axios Health Care Editor Sam Baker moderating Tuesday's discussion. Photo: Danielle Lirette for Axios
Opportunities for growth

How the government and private sector could make health care more accessible for patients with varied needs featured prominently in the conversation.

Julie Reiskin, Executive Director at the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition

  • On the relationship between lack of medical care and poverty: "Disrupting that is really an opportunity… It’s really hard to break those cycles."
  • On improved care for people with disabilities: "Prevention for us looks different, so it’s not necessarily that a ten dollar flu shot prevents a ten thousand dollar ER visit… But we see a lot of room for improvement in the dental space. [We need to find dental care providers] who can work on people in their chairs."

Kelly Brough, President and CEO of the Denver Chamber of Commerce

  • On the challenges of cost: “It doesn't actually get any better in any state than what you have right here [in Colorado]. And yet the cost of health care is unbelievable. And half of our residents get their health care from their employers. And what our employers tell us, regardless of size is ‘I can't afford it and my employees can't afford it.’”
Julie Reiskin, Executive Director at the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition. Photo: Danielle Lirette for Axios

Melissa Bosworth, Principal at Vertical Strategies and Rural Healthcare and Non-profit Capacity Building at Culture of Health Leaders

  • On disparities in outside of major metropolitan areas: "There’s a lot more opportunity to do place-based policy...Accessibility and what that looks like is vastly different in rural communities. "

Michele Lueck, President and CEO at the Colorado Health Institute

  • On where the state is headed: "I think the focus right now on cost efficiencies and affordability through everything from end of life care to telehealth services...those are things that tell the community where we’re headed in the state."
Julia Hutchins, CSO of Apostrophe Health. Photo: Danielle Lirette for Axios
On innovation in the sector

How to continue pushing the private sector forward in partnership with advancing policy was discussed.

Mike Biselli, President of Catalyst HTI

  • How telehealth takes advantage of the tools people already have: "Eighty-seven percent of our Medicaid population across this nation has a smartphone in their pocket...the same number of with our V.A. population as well. And then you think about what is the most widely used application on your phone? Text message. That's why CirrusMD and the team are growing so fast because they unlock the power of that very simple tool on our smartphones."
  • "With technology, the innovation is the easy part. That stuff is ready to scale. It's built. Ready to go. It is policy getting in the way of these leaders to allow for us to drive innovations."

Thank you Delta Dental for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Emergency declaration issued in 17 states and D.C. over fuel pipeline cyberattack

Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Biden administration said it's "working with" fuel pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline to try and restart operations after a ransomware attack took it offline.

Why it matters: Friday night's cyberattack is "the most significant, successful attack on energy infrastructure" known to have occurred in the U.S., notes energy researcher Amy Myers Jaffe, per Politico. A regional emergency

40 mins ago - World

Sullivan expresses "serious concerns" to Israeli counterpart about Jerusalem violence

Israeli soldiers throw tear gas canisters at Palestinian demonstrators during a protest near the Jewish settlement of Beit El near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, on Sunday. Photo: Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan expressed "serious concerns" Sunday to his Israeli counterpart about "violent confrontations" in Jerusalem and planned evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in the city's east, per a White House statement.

Driving the news: More than 250 Palestinians and several Israeli police officers have been wounded since Friday. Israeli police have used tear gas, stun grenades, water cannons and rubber bullets on protesters, who've thrown "rocks and water bottles" at officers, per NPR. The violence continued Sunday night, AP notes.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated 4 hours ago - Technology

Exclusive: GLAAD finds top social media sites "categorically unsafe"

The leading social media sites — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube — are all "categorically unsafe" for LGBTQ people, according to a new study from GLAAD, the results of which were revealed Sunday on "Axios on HBO."

The big picture: GLAAD had planned to give each of the sites a grade as part of its inaugural social media index, but opted not to give individual grades this year after determining all the leading sites would receive a failing grade.