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April 24, 2023

House Passes Bills to Save Coloradans Money on Health Care

DENVER, CO - The House today passed two bipartisan bills to increase transparency in hospital reporting requirements and expand Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) coverage for kids. Both HB23-1226 and HB23-1300 passed by a vote of 53 to 11.

"The legislation I carried in 2019 gave policy makers a closer look at hospital finances, informing some of the major policies we've passed to lower the cost of health care,” said Rep. Chris deGruy Kennedy, D-Lakewood, sponsor of HB23-1226. “Hospitals can move money around and between states, making it hard to know where profits are going and why the cost of care continues to increase faster than inflation. This year's bill will help fill in some of the remaining gaps so we can continue building policies that put people over profits and save Coloradans money on health care."

HB23-1226, also sponsored by Representative Matt Soper, builds off of hospital transparency legislation also carried by Representative Chris deGruy Kennedy in 2019 to bolster price transparency and reduce health care costs. Under HB23-1226, hospitals would have to disclose an annual summary of the hospital’s transfers of cash, equity, investments, or other assets to and from related parties, a hospital-specific statement of cash flow, a narrative report of capital investments greater than 25 million dollars, the salary and total compensation data of the top 5 highest paid administrative positions of each nonprofit hospital, and more. 

The transparency data will identify underlying drivers of high hospital costs and strengthen data collection on the financial health and performance of Colorado hospitals. The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing would have the power to apply corrective action plans or fines to hospitals that do not comply with data collection procedures. Hospitals would also be required to provide patients with a detailed list of billed services and the associated charges and disclose the patient’s right to receive more detailed information about the billed services. 

“The best way to save patients money on health care is to ensure that they have access to preventative services and the ability to address their health concerns early,” said Rep. Shannon Bird, D-Westminster, sponsor of HB23-1300. “Preventative care protects Colorado families’ health and wallets, and makes our health care system more efficient, too. By expanding Medicaid coverage for kids and people exiting the criminal justice system, regardless of income, we’ll save families money on health care, reduce recidivism, and create a healthier Colorado.”

“Colorado has been a national leader in maintaining health insurance coverage for eligible kids and families throughout the pandemic,” said Rep. Emily Sirota, D-Denver, sponsor of HB23-1300. “Children need consistent access to health care, especially in their early years when frequent screenings, vaccinations, and check-ups are critical to their development and school readiness. Ensuring continuous Medicaid coverage for vulnerable populations will keep our communities healthy and safe and prevent thousands of Coloradans from losing health care coverage.”

HB23-1300 requires the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to submit a waiver application to the federal government that extends continuous Medicaid and CHP+ coverage for kids between 0 and 3 years old for 24 months, and for individuals that have been released from a Colorado Department of Corrections facility for 12 months after their release date, regardless of income. Homeless individuals or those with no income would also qualify for Medicaid coverage without income documentation if certain criteria are met.

The bill would also create a study to determine how Colorado can expand Medicaid coverage in future years to make health care accessible and affordable for more Coloradans. The study would consider costs, administrative workload and burden, technology requirements, impacts of preventative services, administrative savings, and other factors. Children under 6 years old and adults who have income under 33% of the federal poverty line, are homeless, or are on parole, probation, or have been released from incarceration will be considered.

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