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Effort to develop Colorado-run health insurance option heads to Gov. Polis’ desk

The public option legislation directs the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and the Department of Regulatory Agencies to deliver a proposal in November

The Colorado House of Representatives, photographed on April 22, 2019. (Jesse Paul The Colorado Sun)

Colorado’s House has sent to Gov. Jared Polis a bill to develop a state-run health insurance option.

The bill directs state agencies to recommend a plan to compete with private insurance plans and those offered on Colorado’s health care exchange.

The House approved the legislation, House Bill 1004, by a 45-19 vote late Monday.

MORE: Colorado lawmakers nixed an experiment to allow people to buy into state employees’ health coverage. Here’s why

The public option legislation directs the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and the Department of Regulatory Agencies to deliver a proposal in November. The plan would assess costs, funding sources, necessary federal permissions and funding, consumer eligibility and who in government would run the program.

Enrollment could begin in 2020 and a plan, if approved by the federal government, could operate in 2021. Sponsors include Democratic Rep. Dylan Roberts and Sen. Kerry Donovan and Republican Rep. Marc Catlin.

“With this bill, Colorado can chart its own innovative path to ensure market stability and to increase access to affordable coverage options all across the state, from Durango to Denver to Deer Trail,” Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, said in a written statement. “Colorado families shouldn’t have to choose between paying for good health insurance and being able to afford housing, child care, or putting food on the table.”


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