In Case You Missed It: Axios: “State Public Option Plans Keep Hitting Obstacles”

Mar 30, 2023

DENVER — As Denver politicians attempt to double down on the failures of the Colorado Option, a recent Axios report highlights the “underwhelming” attempts to implement and operate public options in states across the country, including Colorado. The report notes that these one-size-fits-all, government-controlled systems are “stalling” as they suffer from “lackluster enrollment” and are failing to deliver on increased affordability.

The report describes the struggles in Washington state – the first state to implement a public option in 2019 – where the program “flopped on the first try,” and has since forced hospitals to participate. “Only 27,000” residents selected a public option plan for 2023, which accounts for roughly 11.5 percent of the individual market.

The report also notes the “meager interest” that public option plans are drawing in Colorado, even while trying to “avoid the Washington experience.” 

The Colorado Option has been overwhelmingly rejected, with nearly nine in 10 Coloradans who shopped for individual coverage for 2023 choosing a traditional health plan and just over 140 individuals enrolling in small group Colorado Option plans.

The Axios report follows a POLITICO report from earlier this year which also noted that new state government-controlled health insurance systems in states like Washington, Nevada, and Colorado are “not working out as hoped” and are failing to deliver on politicians’ promises of cost savings and coverage gains.

It is clear that one-size-fits-all, government-controlled health care systems do not work. Instead, policymakers in Colorado should prioritize building on and improving what is working in our current health care system to expand access to affordable, high-quality coverage and care.

Read the full Axios story HERE.

Read more on Colorado’s Health Care Future HERE.