(April 28) – The House passed three bills today to control healthcare costs and expand health insurance options in Colorado.

HB17-1318, sponsored by Rep. Joann Ginal, D-Fort Collins, would require the state to produce an annual report, from data supplied by health insurers, on pharmaceutical costs trends, including the most-prescribed and highest-cost drugs.

“We know pharmaceuticals are a major contributor to the high cost of healthcare and a burden on many Coloradans, but it’s difficult to get a handle on the problem because the data is hard to find,” Rep. Ginal said. “This bill changes that.”

HB17-1318 passed on a 37-27 vote and is headed to the Senate, where it has bipartisan sponsorship.

Also passing today were two bills to expand Coloradans’ access to health insurance.

HB17-1237, sponsored by Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, would allow local governments to offer local government employees the choice to participate in group benefit plans offered to state employees.

“This bill will increase choices and drive down costs for local government employees, especially in rural areas where premiums are high and options are few,” Rep. Hamner said.

The vote HB17-1237 was 37-27. It also goes to the Senate, where it has Republican sponsorship.

HB17-1286, sponsored by Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, requires health insurance carriers that  provide group benefit plans to state employees to also participate in the individual market through the state health insurance exchange. These companies will also be required to offer plans in at least two counties in high-premium areas of the state and to participate in Medicaid and CHP+, the children’s basic health plan.

“This bill will leverage the purchasing power of our taxpayer dollars to provide more choices in underserved areas and reduce cherry-picking by insurance companies,” Rep. Esgar said after the 37-27 vote that sent the bill to the Senate, where it has a Republican sponsor.

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