Colorado Hospital Association Response to State’s Public Option Proposal

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, COLO. – Oct. 7, 2019 – Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) issued this statement in response to the release of the state’s proposal for a new health insurance public option:

“After initial review, Colorado Hospital Association has concerns with the state’s draft report on public option. While CHA and its member hospitals and health systems supported House Bill 19-1004 during the legislative session and the legislators that brought the idea forward, and we appreciate the work by the Polis Administration to develop this plan, there are several components that give us cause for concern,” said Chris Tholen, CHA executive vice president.

“In the public stakeholder process, CHA and its members shared that any public option plan should:

  • Focus on Colorado’s remaining uninsured;
  • Protect consumer choice to competitive insurance markets; and
  • Safeguard access to high-quality care through sufficient payments for providers and hospitals.

“Most importantly, by opening this public option to all Coloradans, there is the potential to significantly damage the health insurance market in our state. The way the plan is drafted, patients could choose to leave their current coverage to choose the public option, which could destabilize the current health insurance market. The Association is also skeptical about what appears to be the first step toward price control or rate setting as well as an intent to make provider participation mandatory. These factors, when combined with the potential to dismantle the private insurance market are cause for concern.

“Colorado hospitals fully recognize that there is much work that needs to be done to address health care affordability. But embarking on a path that adds further uncertainty by destabilizing Colorado’s insurance market, on top of instituting government price controls, will likely cause consequences on the state’s health care system beyond what is intended.

“We commend the Polis Administration on its hard work and will fully analyze the proposal to see how well it reflects the intent of HB 19-1004 and the above criteria. We look forward to further engaging with the Administration to ensure that this solution will further affordability, coverage and access in our state.”

About the Colorado Hospital Association

Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) is the leading voice of Colorado’s hospital and health system community. Representing more than 100 hospitals and health systems throughout the state, CHA serves as a trusted, credible and reliable resource on health issues, hospital data and trends for its members, media, policymakers and the general public. Through CHA, Colorado’s hospitals and health systems work together in their shared commitment to improve health and health care in Colorado. Learn more at www.cha.com.

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