Colorado bill to address high cost of health care advances

On Tuesday, Colorado’s SB19-004 passed through third readings with bipartisan support. The bill is part of Gov. Jared Polis’s larger plan to reduce the cost of healthcare in Colorado. The “road-map,” as he calls it, is a series of steps that attempt to make healthcare more affordable, equitable, and accessible overall. The advancement of SB19-004 is another step in his two-tiered plan to address the high cost of healthcare in the state.

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If signed into law, the bill would give Coloradans an opportunity to address the high and rising cost of healthcare in the state by modifying coverage cooperative to include consumer protections, and allow for direct negotiations between consumers and providers. It would give local communities the ability to come to the bargaining table with commercial providers to negotiate to keep premium prices low. The bill also allows communities to come together to create co-ops to address the high premium costs, and to create additional consumer protections like preexisting conditions.

Co-sponsors of the bill, Representative Dylan Roberts and Representative Julie McCluskie acknowledge that SB19-004 has a specific focus on rural Colorado where prices are especially high.

“Senate Bill 004 does what our federal government has not, it gives us an opportunity to address the high rising health care costs in rural Colorado as well as along the front range… particularly in the community where I live, Summit County, we have had a tremendous community effort, a coalition, come together to work large employer to large employer, directly with providers in order to establish a co-op  that will significantly bring down health insurance rates.”

The bill would allow Summit County Peak Health Alliance to pilot this new approach to health care plan negotiations.

Read more about Gov. Polis’s healthcare road-map and other pieces of legislation that have evolved through the legislature this session here.