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Groups supporting public option pen a letter to Colorado lawmakers

Joey Bunch, Colorado Politics,  Feb 19, 2020, as published in coloradopolitics.com

From the American Diabetes Association to the Young Invincibles, more than two dozen Colorado groups signed on to a letter urging state lawmakers to support a public option insurance program to increase competition and, ideally, lower premiums and other health care costs.

The letter dated Jan. 22, provided to Colorado Politics Tuesday, speaks of a “true crisis” in every corner of the state and urges the General Assembly to deliver affordability, transparency and access to care through the insurance marketplace.

In the next two weeks, Democratic lawmakers are expected to introduce a bill to create the public option policy, a public-private partnership that lowers prices with caps on hospital charges and drug prices, while reducing costs to insurers and eliminating middle-men rebates, steering that savings back to consumers. Rep. Dylan Roberts of Avon and Sen. Kerry Donovan of Vail have been working with both sides on the issue for months.

The letter from groups in support bookends one from well-known groups who oppose it, which was provided to Colorado Politics first on Monday morning.

Gov. Jared Polis promised to deliver lower health care costs when he ran for the office in 2018, and he and his allies in the legislature have delivered a raft of measures aimed at that goal, the public option being just the latest.

“We understand that members of the health care industry are raising a number of concerns and putting a great deal of resources behind opposing this idea, even before a bill has been drafted,” states the letter from public option supporters. “We are committed to finding a feasible solution that puts patients first and ask that you continue the dialogue with us as we craft legislation that take into account feedback from the many stakeholders we know care deeply about this issue.”

The signatories are the American Diabetes Association, the Boulder County Commission, Center for Health Progress, Chronic Care Collaborative, Cobalt (formerly known as NARAL Pro Choice Colorado), Colorado Center on Law and Policy, Colorado Children’s Campaign, Colorado Community Health Network, Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, Colorado Council of Churches, Colorado Cross Disability Coalition, Colorado Fiscal Institute, Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance, Good Business Colorado, Healthier Colorado, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Liver Health Connection, Lutheran Advocacy Ministry-Colorado, Mental Health Colorado, the MS Society CO-WY Chapter, One Colorado, the  Small Business Majority, The Bell Policy Center, Western and Rural Colorado Health Care Coalition, the Women’s Lobby of Colorado and the Young Invincibles.

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