Colorado lawmakers on Tuesday took a crucial step closer to getting into the health insurance business.
The state Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill that orders the state’s insurance department to create a public insurance option if so much a program can be proven viable and the state can earn a release from the federal government.
The bill’s aim is to create competition and drive down compensation. galore rural Coloradans face the highest premiums in the nation and often have only one insurance option. Coloradans who buy insurance on the individual market have experienced double-digit increases in premiums for multiple years. This year, premiums accumulated at the smallest rate since 2015, with an average 5.6 percentage hike.
“It’s not getting better until we do thing to get it better,” state Sen. Lois Court, a Denver Democrat, told reporters earlier Tuesday piece discussing her caucus’s multipronged effort to drive down health care compensation.
A number of other health insurance bills are making their way through the Colorado General Assembly. not yet, Gov. Jared Polis has signed a bill that requires hospitals to better report their compensation and revenue. Proposals that would allow Coloradans to import drugs from Canada and the creation of a state fund to help insurers cover their sickest and most high-ticket patients are likely to reach Polis’ table by the end of the session.
Several of the Democrats’ efforts hinge on federal approval, thing that is not guaranteed given the partisan divide between Colorado’s mostly Democratic political leadership and the conservative Trump administration — despite bipartisan support in the General Assembly to rein in health care compensation.
“We’re not acting in a vacuum,” aforementioned Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, a Boulder Democrat. “We need to understand what other states are doing and how similar their requests our to us. And if the president and his folks are interested in giving a release to one state, what can we do to position ourselves to get thing similar.”
The public option bill earned bipartisan support from the state House. however, Senate Republicans were not won over so easily.
State Sen. Jim Smallwood, a Parker Republican, warned his peers during Tuesday’s floor debate that the bill could drive out private options rather than improve them.
“My fear is that if thing like this is enacted and we go down this path under the pretense of creating more competition, it’s going to come back irreversibly to harm constituents in the districts we’re trying to help,” he aforementioned.
Donovan discharged Smallwood’s arguments as “monsters and ghosts.”
Colorado’s proposal is one of several being debated by states crosswise the nation. however, no other state has a public option, meaning Colorado could be one of the first in the nation to do so. If the bill becomes law, the legislative assembly will have next year to tweak the system before the option is available to the public.