Colorado’s Health Care Future Statement Following House Vote To Advance The State Government Option (House Bill 21-1232)

May 10, 2021

DENVER – Colorado’s Health Care Future issued the following statement today after the Colorado House of Representatives voted to advance House Bill 21-1232, which would create a new state government-controlled health insurance system, also called the state government option:

“Today, the Colorado House of Representatives chose to gamble with Coloradans’ access to quality, affordable health coverage and care by advancing this risky, unaffordable legislation. Leaders throughout Colorado – including from our health care and business communities – continue to have serious concerns about the costs and consequences of creating a new state government option. Unfortunately, the bill’s sponsors have ignored these Colorado stakeholders and their own House colleagues, refusing to consider public input or new analysis to assess whether the bill can even accomplish its stated health affordability and coverage goals,” said Colorado’s Health Care Future spokesman Tyler Mounsey.

“If the bill’s sponsors are truly focused on ‘protecting and building on what is working in the state,’ as they claimed on the House floor, then there should be no need for them to grant unprecedented power to an unelected government bureaucrat, or force government price-fixing measures that fail to truly lower costs and will backfire on patients’ access to quality care. There would also be no need for them to demand mandatory participation by providers through exorbitant fines and threats to shut down hospitals that do not to accept the unrealistic reimbursement rate or participate in the standardized plan, a plan that would put a significant strain on health care providers, especially in rural communities, and further the gaps and delays in health care services while worsening the existing physician shortage in Colorado. Yet their bill does every one of these things,” added Mounsey.

“It should also be emphasized that this proposal is unnecessary in light of new federal resources already available through the recently enacted American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) – a law which truly builds on what’s working in health care, helping close the coverage gap and providing accessible, affordable care to the 15 percent of Coloradans in the state that HB21-1232 claims to target. The state government option puts Colorado’s health care progress at risk and would disrupt the state’s integrated health care system,” continued Mounsey.

“Lawmakers need to consider the larger implications of the policy proposals they put forward and provide the public and stakeholders with the opportunity to participate in a full and meaningful debate based on facts, not politics. As this bill advances to the Colorado Senate, lawmakers would be wise to slow down, allow for much-needed analysis, and focus instead on solutions that strengthen our existing health care system. Coloradans deserve proven solutions that provide access to affordable, high-quality health coverage and care – not a new state government-controlled health insurance system designed to fail those it is meant to help,” concluded Mounsey.