(Apr. 11) – This morning, the House Rural Affairs and Agriculture committee unanimously approved a bill address the high costs of healthcare in Colorado. The bill is sponsored by Western Slope Representatives Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, and. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon.

SB19-004 will strengthen Colorado’s laws to allow healthcare cooperatives to incorporate consumer protections like coverage for preexisting conditions. It will also allow the State Insurance Commissioner to work with groups seeking to create co-ops so that they can get their co-op up and running as soon as possible. The bipartisan bill will help lower healthcare costs by encouraging consumers to negotiate rates on a collective basis directly with providers and offer plans to individuals, business, and other groups that are more affordable than what currently exists on the market.

“A key part of lowering the cost of health care will be the formation of health insurance co-ops across the state where consumers collectively negotiate rates directly with providers,” said Rep. Roberts. “This bill will authorize the formation of these co-ops across the state which could result in plans that are significantly cheaper than those available today.”

“In the absence of federal solutions to the health care crisis we face, Colorado communities are finding creative, innovative approaches to making health care more accessible. Health care co-ops can be one more viable option to provide relief,” said Rep. McCluskie. “I’m proud of the bipartisan bills we’ve worked to pass this session to help provide solutions to health care challenges hardworking families face every day.”

Senator Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, is the Senate sponsor of the bill. The Senate approved the bill on a bipartisan vote of 34-to-1 earlier this month.  SB19-004  now goes to the House floor.

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