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Statement on Public Health Insurance Option Legislation Released Today

Please see the statement below from Kelly Brough, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, regarding the public health insurance option legislation released today.

“We know we need to collectively do work to lower the cost of health care in Colorado. And, we are making headway and seeing the market work in Colorado. Through public-private partnership and industry innovation, Coloradans in the individual market have experienced meaningful reductions in insurance premiums, expanded product choice and increased competition in the private market in recent years. Colorado has seen larger reductions on a percentage basis in the Affordable Care Act’s average benchmark health insurance premiums than Washington, the first state to establish a public option two years ago. Since 2018, Colorado’s benchmark premiums have fallen by 25.3%, compared to 15.5% increase in Washington state. This encouraging progress, coupled with the reality of an economy still recovering from the COVID-19 crisis and new leadership in Washington, reinforces our belief that this isn’t the time to go it alone and create a state-run health care program.

“Though being pitched as a market solution, the truth is directing carriers to provide a specific government product and dictating the cost of that product ensures we lose all the value associated with creating a competitive marketplace. We also have ongoing specific concerns about the legislation as well. The timelines and arbitrary thresholds in the bill are intended to guarantee that the private sector isn’t going to be given the time or the opportunity to meet the goals of the bill, which means a public option is a foregone conclusion.

“Health care is complex, fragile and far too important to the wellbeing of Coloradans and the stability of our economy to allow for a risky and sweeping plan like this to advance. While the introduced bill is not something we can support, we are hopeful that we can find common ground with sponsors and advocates to advance a more reasonable, truly market-based and stepwise approach that reduces costs for Coloradans.”