April 3, 2019

Denver, CO – The Colorado State Senate today voted 34-to-1 to pass SB19-004, Address High-cost Health Insurance, a bill sponsored by Senator Kerry Donovan (D-Vail) to address the high costs of healthcare in Colorado. The bill now heads to the Colorado House of Representatives for consideration.

Describing previous legislation to address the high cost of healthcare on the Senate floor, Senator Donovan said, “year after year, different solutions were presented and different ideas were illuminated… and often those bills met their fate in committee. The problem only got worse as we battled and presented a new idea, with a new angle, from a different approach… what we also saw was that it crept out of the boundaries of Senate District 5 and the High Country and is now touching every single one of our districts.”

“This solution will have the power to take our vote and our support of policy, and turn that into the ability of individuals across this state to join in a shared voice and go to their local healthcare provider and say ‘you must address the cost we are paying. We are speaking as one voice because we’ve been empowered by our General Assembly to do so,’” added Senator Donovan.

SB19-004 will strengthen our laws to allow healthcare cooperatives to incorporate consumer protections like coverage for preexisting conditions. The legislation will help lower healthcare costs by encouraging consumers to negotiate rates on a collective basis directly with providers.

In support of SB19-004, Senator Jim Smallwood (R-Parker) said on the floor: “I am voting yes… This is now a bill that, in my opinion, tries to modernize the rules around these healthcare cooperatives as well as, according to county commissioners in those areas, gets the state government out of the way in allowing the formation of these co-ops… I appreciate all the work the sponsor and stakeholders have done in making this a very good bill.”  

Not only did SB-004 earn broad support from the State Senate, 29 Senators – both Democrats and Republicans – from across Colorado also signed on to the bill as co-sponsors including Jeff Bridges, Don Coram, Lois Court, Larry Crowder, Jessie Danielson, Steve Fenberg, Mike Foote, Joann Ginal, Julie Gonzales, Dennis Hisey, Chris Holbert, Pete Lee, Vickie Marble, Dominick Moreno, Brittany Pettersen, Kevin Priola, Bob Rankin, Robert Rodriguez, Ray Scott, Jim Smallwood, Jerry Sonnenberg, Tammy Story, Jack Tate, Angela Williams, Faith Winter, Rachel Zenzinger, and Leroy Garcia.   

Senator Donovan is also the sponsor, along with Representative Dylan Roberts (D-Avon), of HB19-1004, a bill that would study how to leverage existing state infrastructure to create a publicly supported health insurance option.These bills, combined with her legislation to create a reinsurance program to help pay high-cost insurance claims (HB19-1168), will result in lower prices across the individual market and make health insurance more affordable for hardworking Coloradans across the state.

“Too many families are forced to make tough choices when it comes to healthcare, and we need to empower people to come together and take action if we’re going to succeed in lowering healthcare costs for Coloradans, particularly those in rural communities,” said Senator Donovan. “There is power in numbers, and by elevating the local voice we can provide much needed relief to those who live in areas with few options, high prices, and little competition.”