Roberts’ Bipartisan Public Health Care Option Receives House Approval

Coloradans shouldn’t be forced to choose between paying for their health care or their mortgage

(Mar. 4) – The House approved a bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Avon, and Rep. Marc Catlin, R-Montrose, to create a new affordable and competitive health care option in the state of Colorado that will be available to families and individuals when purchasing health insurance.

“The cost of health insurance especially on the Western Slope but all across Colorado continue to skyrocket. This bill is a reasoned, smart approach to try to bring competition to the marketplace to bring down the cost of health care,” said Rep. Roberts. “This bipartisan bill is a uniquely Colorado solution to the growing health care problems in our state. Too many hardworking individuals and families, especially in rural Colorado, are paying too much for health insurance.”

Currently, there are 14 counties in our state with only one option on the individual market and many counties are left with a small number of options for health insurance.  This bill will increase competition in the market.

The bipartisan HB19-1004 represents significant progress towards developing a publicly supported health insurance option on the market that leverages the efficiencies of our current state infrastructure. This public option will help put affordable health insurance in reach for many hardworking families across our state.

“People are deciding whether to pay out-of-control health insurance costs each month or forgo coverage for themselves and their kids,” Roberts said. “Providing families and individuals an affordable option will make a meaningful difference in their lives and ensure they stay in our rural communities. This bill was carefully crafted in a responsible way to create a new, affordable health insurance option in Colorado.”

Eagle County has some of the highest health care premiums in the entire country.

The bill directs experts at the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and the Division of Insurance to create a proposal for implementing a public option that leverages already-existing state infrastructure. That proposal must be presented to the Joint Budget Committee, House Public Health and Human Services Committee; House Health and Insurance Committee, Senate Health and Human Services Committee and Joint committees during SMART Act hearings later this year.

When exploring the creation of a public option, the departments must consider affordability to the consumer, administrative and financial consideration for the state, ease of implementation and impacts to the market as a whole.

The bill was approved by a bipartisan vote of 46-18. It now heads to the Senate.

The Proposal For Affordable Health Coverage Option bill is part of a larger package of bills that House Democrats have introduced this year to help lower the cost of health care.

The House also approved HB19-1131, sponsored by Rep. Sonya Jaquez-Lewis, D-Longmont, to help with prescription drug cost transparency by a vote of 40-23. It now heads to the Senate.

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