ICYMI: The State Government Option Could Disproportionately Hurt Access To Care For Racial And Ethnic Minority Communities

Mar 24, 2021

DENVER – Ahead of the Colorado House Health & Insurance Committee hearing to debate HB21-1232, which would create a new state government-controlled health insurance system in Colorado known as the state government option, lawmakers should consider the negative consequences and unaffordable costs of this proposal, including the recent finding that it could financially impact hospitals and disproportionately hurt access to care for racial and ethnic minorities.

recent report by FTI Consulting found a Colorado state government option could financially impact 78 percent of all Colorado hospitals, totaling $112 million in losses annually, and threaten access to care for Coloradans, especially among members of racial and ethnic minority communities. Over 40 percent of hospitals that could be at higher risk for closure disproportionately serve Black, Latinx, and Native American residents, the report finds.

The report is the latest evidence that Colorado lawmakers, including members of the House Health & Insurance Committee, who are scheduled to consider HB21-1232, should slow down, weigh the facts and work together to build on and improve what’s working in health care instead of starting over.

Key Findings:

  • During this critical time, the state government option could financially impact 78 percent of all Colorado hospitals.
  • Today, racial and ethnic minorities in Colorado comprise one-third of the state’s total population, yet 40 percent of Colorado hospitals that could be at higher risk for closure under the state government option serve these communities.
  • Hospitals fill a critical gap in care for Black and Hispanic/Latinx Coloradans, many of whom already contend with significant disparities in health status, access, and outcomes, and must rely more heavily on hospital services to meet basic health care needs.
  • Native Americans in rural areas could also see their access to care threatened. This builds on a previous report, which found 23 rural hospitals could be at increased risk of closure under the state government option.