ICYMI: Colorado Leaders to Lawmakers: Slow Roll on Public Option

Feb 20, 2020

Colorado – Statewide groups representing local businesses, rural communities, skilled workers, and the agricultural industry signed a joint letter encouraging the General Assembly to slow down and “conduct a full cost-benefit analysis, and invite greater input and review” as lawmakers prepare to consider a new state government insurance option in coming weeks, reports Colorado Politics

There is no industry or community throughout the state that will not be affected by the negative consequences of the proposed State Option,” states the letter.

According to the referenced Navigant Research study, rural communities would be hit the hardest by putting nearly one in three hospitals at risk of closing, and leading to the elimination of critical services, care and staff. The Colorado Farm Bureau and Club 20, two prominent groups protecting the interests of rural communities, are among the coalition.

Chad Vorthmann, Executive Vice President of the Colorado Farm Bureau said in a statement, “Health care is critically important to the more than 700,000 Coloradans who live in rural and agricultural communities. We need solutions that expand access to care and make coverage more affordable. Sadly, as proposed, the state-government option may have the opposite effect — hospital closures, service cuts and fewer insurance choices.

Vorthmann adds, “We encourage Colorado lawmakers to put the proposal on hold until it can be fully analyzed and focus instead on solutions that get to the root of our health care problems.

Business groups echoed concerns by highlighting a REMI Partnership study that points to evidence of cost-shifting from slashed reimbursements – as much as $1.5 billion within five years – and 8,320 jobs at stake under a government-controlled health insurance program, leaving Colorado communities to take an economic blow.

“Employers have a vested interest in providing high-quality health care,” states Dirk Draper, President and Chief Executive Officer Colorado Springs Chamber, “The state-government option is likely to make that harder by pushing insurers out of the state and creating more one-size-fits-all health coverage options. And it may increase private health care costs, which can make the difference between hiring a new employee, investing in capital or growing a business.”

The letter concludes, “the consequences are too great for Colorado to go it alone with so much uncertainty left unanswered.”