What They’re Watching: Sen. Jim Smallwood, Colorado Legislature


Eli Kirshbaum


Sen. Jim Smallwood has been following the implementation of the Colorado Option over the past year, and is concerned about the impact it’s having on the private insurance market. Having opposed the policy during its time in the legislature, Smallwood told us during the Colorado State of Reform conference in November that it’s having negative impacts on a state that is already in critical need of additional coverage options.

“We’ve had a number of carriers exit the market just in [2022] alone, and Colorado was already a state that was struggling with having enough private insurance alternatives for our citizens. In many of the counties there was only one provider. So I’m really disappointed that a state that was moving in the right direction as far as adding insurance companies passed some really destructive bills that have now caused that to do a one-eighty.”

Last year, Smallwood’s bill to require an actuarial review of any legislative proposals that would mandate new requirements for health plans passed and was signed by Gov. Polis. Smallwood told us he’s eager to examine the findings of these reviews as they pertain to the Colorado Option and similar initiatives.