5 Things Colorado: Marketplace enrollment, TABOR, Convening Panel

Thanks to Emily Viles for holding this newsletter down while I was out on vacation. She’s been an amazing addition to our team at State of Reform.

It’s good to be back digging through the various goings-on in Colorado health care. So, here are five things we think are worth keeping an eye on in Colorado health care for the month of July.


With help from Emily Viles

1. Our Convening Panel meets next week

Our Convening Panel meets next week to begin to sort through some of the most interesting topics in Colorado health care. This group helps us set the Topical Agenda for our 2019 Colorado State of Reform Health Policy Conference coming up on October 30th at the Hyatt Regency Denver at Colorado Convention Center.

After we build our Topical Agenda, we’ll begin curating up to 70 speakers to join our one day event.  That’s really a lot of speakers for a one day conference!  The idea is to gather as many different credible, diverse and thoughtful perspectives as possible in one gathering. This creates a non-partisan, policy agnostic conversation that we hope becomes a discussion greater than the sum of its component parts.

If you have suggestions for great speakers or great stories for our fall event, drop us a line and let us know what we should be talking about. We’d love to have your input!

2. TABOR impact on Colorado health care

The Colorado Supreme Court recently ruled that a full TABOR repeal could move forward. Reporter Emily Viles took a deep dive into the measure, and what a repeal of TABOR could mean for health care in the state.

The main argument against TABOR is its effect on the economy and public services. But, this session, Colorado’s booming economy and fiscal surplus allowed for new investments in public services that have been hit hard in the past. Transportation and infrastructure, for example, along with education, received more money this year than in years prior. Do these new investments undermine the argument against TABOR?  We’ll see.

3. Let’s talk enrollments: marketplace report

Connect for Health Colorado recently released its June 2019 Marketplace report. The data in the report details the number of Coloradans that have signed up for health care coverage during the fiscal year. The report also examines metrics in customer service to show trends in the number of members assisted.

Some data points stand out, including that effectuated enrollments have decreased steadily since the winter months. As of June 2019, the number of enrollees totaled 143,410. Still, these figures are all above the baseline goal for overall enrollments. Apparently, March and November are bad months for customer service. Over the last two years, the number of calls answered within 5 minutes drops from 80% to 37%. Average wait times spike to over 30 minutes.

4. Opioid Interim Study Committee Highlights

Development of new opioid legislation is being expedited this summer, creating some anxiety among stakeholders. The charge of the Interim Opioid Committee – shorthand for the wordy Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorder Study Committee – is to analyze data and propose legislation to fill anticipated policy gaps.

But, bill drafts are due August 27th. The bill finalization process begins October 9th. Votes for final bill drafts will occur on October 29th. During a recent meeting, legislators were particularly interested in the documentation of naloxone use. A discussion on the “medicine cabinet issue” was a highlight, as well.

5. Report ranks Colorado 2nd healthiest state

A recent study assessed health care and health status by state, and ranked each according to 8 factors.  The study evaluated states where finding and paying for health care was most difficult, both as a result of high costs of care and limited accessibility.

Colorado ranked 2nd overall, and was considered “robust,” compared to other states. The ranking is a result of high marks in five out of the eight metrics, healthy ratings in two of those categories, and one average ranking. Key highlights from the report include the robust rankings in child vaccination rates, and average rankings in overall health insurance coverage.