The Public Option simply gives every Coloradan the choice to buy into Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid program), just like they would with any other health plan on the Connect for Health Colorado insurance exchange.
Far too many Coloradans find themselves thousands of dollars in debt if they get sick or injured — even if they have insurance. A public option drastically expands access to affordable public health insurance, forcing expensive private plans to lower costs in order to compete. It will also provide a badly-needed affordable healthcare option to rural and mountain communities.
Crack down on pharmaceutical price gouging
The pharmaceutical industry has become notorious for unexpectedly jacking up the prices of life-saving medicines from EpiPens to cancer medication.
We’re fighting to prohibit pharmaceutical manufacturers or wholesalers from price gouging on sales of essential off-patent or generic drugs, as well as legally classify price gouging as a deceptive trade practice under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.
Our anti-price gouging proposal also allows the State Board of Pharmacy and the executive director of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing to report suspected price gouging to the Colorado Attorney General, who is authorized to seek subpoenas and file lawsuits with the appropriate district courts.
Import cheaper prescriptions drugs from Canada
Thanks to outrageous concessions to big-money pharmaceutical interests by federal lawmakers, Coloradans pay much higher prices for the exact same drugs as the rest of the world. One of the primary reasons is an arbitrary ban on importing cheap, safe prescription drugs from other countries written into federal law at the behest of Pharma lobbyists.
We’re advocating for legislation to formally apply for a waiver from the US Department of Health and Human Services to exempt Colorado from this deeply corrupt ban, allowing our state to import cheaper prescription drugs from the rest of the world. Working families should not have to pay thousands of dollars per month for identical drugs that are available for a fraction of the price across the border in Canada.
Stop for-profit “emergency rooms” from exploiting customers
Over the past several years, for-profit medical facilities have been setting up shop across Colorado at an incredible rate. Many of these facilities charge exorbitant fees and falsely identify themselves as “emergency rooms” even though they are not federally recognized as healthcare facilities.
This opportunistic rush to dupe consumers into wildly overpaying for the same care they could receive at a real ER must end. We’re supporting legislation to stop new for-profit medical facilities from opening until new rules to protect patients and prevent price gouging are put in place.
End gag rule on cheaper prescription options
Some prescription drugs are actually cheaper when bought outside of insurance, depending on your plan. Absurdly, Colorado currently has an industry-friendly gag rule in place that bans pharmacists from telling you if your prescription would be cheaper if purchased out of pocket rather than billed to your insurance company.
We support the full repeal of this gag rule. Forcing pharmacists to conceal cheaper treatment options from patients is immoral and serves no conceivable public benefit.
Expand suicide prevention training in schools
Colorado has one of the most consistently high suicide rates in the nation — a tragic public health crisis that must be addressed. We support establishing a grant program to provide funding for Colorado schools to establish suicide prevention training and programs tailored to their students.
Tackle the Opioid crisis
Opioids like heroin, fentanyl, and prescription painkillers are inundating communities and first responders with heartbreaking cases of addiction and (often fatal) overdose. Working with our colleagues across the aisle, we’ve identified six bipartisan bills to form the basis of an aggressive opioid epidemic response plan.
By expanding access treatment and addiction counseling, stopping the over-prescription of dangerously addictive pain medications, and fighting to keep the cost of behavioral health services as low as possible, we can tackle Colorado’s opioid crisis head on.