March 13, 2019

Denver, CO – The Senate Health and Human Services Committee today voted to advance two bills sponsored by Senator Kerry Donovan (D-Vail) that address the high cost of healthcare in Colorado, particularly in rural communities. Both bills now head to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.

“Coloradans demanded action on healthcare this past November, and these bills present innovative Colorado solutions to reign in the high cost of health insurance,” said Senator Donovan. “These bills will deliver affordable options so Coloradans can get the treatment they need without having to choose between paying for healthcare or paying a mortgage.”

SB19-004, which passed committee with bipartisan support, addresses the high cost of healthcare in Colorado by modernizing laws that allow healthcare cooperatives to incorporate consumer protections, such as coverage for preexisting conditions, and encourages consumers to negotiate rates on a collective basis directly with providers.

“Coloradans take care of each other, and cooperatives will empower people to come together and take action to address the high cost of healthcare. Co-ops are member owned, so the focus isn’t on profits, but on getting people the care they need,” said Senator Donovan.

HB19-1004, which has a Republican co-sponsor in the House and passed that chamber with bipartisan support, would study how to leverage existing state infrastructure to create a publicly supported health insurance option, delivering affordable health insurance to hardworking Coloradans across the state.

“This is a reset for healthcare in Colorado. No state in the nation has implemented a statewide public option, but Colorado has taken an innovative and responsible approach to do so that will increase competition and deliver affordable, accessible healthcare to Coloradans all across this state,” added Senator Donovan.

A lack of competition is a major reason why residents in rural and mountain communities pay about $500 more per month for similar healthcare plans offered elsewhere. While Coloradans living in urban areas have several options to choose from on the individual market, there are 14 counties in Colorado that only have one health insurance provider.

“Too many Coloradans, particularly those in rural communities, are struggling to afford the care they need. These bills will provide relief to those living in areas with little competition and high insurance premiums while we work towards a statewide public option that will help people in every corner of Colorado,” added Senator Donovan.  

SB19-004 and HB19-1004 are both sponsored by Representative Dylan Roberts (D-Avon) in the Colorado House of Representatives. HB19-1004 passed the House by a vote of 46-17-1 on March 4, 2019.

For more information about SB19-004, please visit: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/sb19-004.

For more information about HB19-1004, please visit: https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb19-1004.

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