A Brief History of Colorado Health Care Reform

Colorado has had a long history of moving towards universal health care.

These are some significant dates in that timeline.

2007:  208 Commission

  • Public call for statewide health care reform resulted in 28 comprehensive plans and 3 partial.
  • Of 28 comprehensive plans, 7 of them were fundamentally single payer in nature.
  • The Commission resisted analyzing single payer, but relented due to strong public pressure at their meetings.
  • The 208 Commission decided to have The Lewin Group model 4 different models, including one single payer option.
  • The 208 Commission couldn't agree on a plan they liked, so they also decided to create a Frankenstein special as a conglomeration of various features.
  • The final report showed that only one plan, the single payer model, actually saved money.
  • The final report showed that only one plan, the single payer model, actually covered everybody.
  • The final report showed that the single payer plan would save $1.4 Billion in Year 1, and savings would increase year-over-year.
  • The 208 Commission buried this finding by claiming it was the most expensive plan -- BUT ONLY WHEN COMPARING THE PUBLIC FUNDING COMPONENT.  All the other modeled plans were far more expensive and did not significantly improve coverage or cost.

2011: ACA-related activities

  • Colorado Health Insurance Exchange implemented
  • Colorado All Payer Claims Database implemented

2016: Amendment 69, citizen initiative for universal health care

  • Citizen initiative gathered signatures to appear on 2016 ballot
  • For-profit opposition (Koch Bros, etc.) funded dark money advertising campaign >$4 Million, drowning out all facts
  • We all know what happened with the 2016 election and the influence of dark money.

HB19-1176:  Health Care Cost Savings Act of 2019

  • This bill funded a study to compare the current system, multi-payer universal health care, and single payer health care.
  • Again, results showed a single payer system saves billions of dollars a year.
  • The study showed improvements across all metrics of health and performance and costs, as well as societal impacts.
  • The Colorado School of Public Health developed a model that can be used during future system analysis

HB23-1209:  Analyze Statewide Publicly Financed Health-care

  • Landmark bill introduced to authorize study of model legislation for publicly-financed, privately-delivered universal health care system in Colorado
  • Successful in committees, but ultimately fell victim to legislative calendar requirements before final vote
  • Reworked, revised, and re-introduced as HB24-1075

HB24-1075:  Analysis of Universal Health Care Payment System

  • Reworked, revised, and re-introduced version of HB23-1209