House committee greenlights Health Care Cost Savings Act

Bill would show benefits, costs of three Colorado health care futures

The House Health and Insurance Committee gave the green light today (March 27) to a

Christine Ebert-Santos, MD, Virginia Gebhart, a retired pharmacist, Madeleine Jacobs, MD, Elinor Christiansen, MD, and Judy Burke, RN testified March 20 before the House Health and Insurance Committee in favor of HB19-1176

bill that would compare benefits and costs of two different Colorado universal health care systems and the current system.

“We heard testimony from many individuals about seeking emergency care, and the testimony of those lacking insurance, the under-insured, the at-risk insured. There are people dying from lack of health insurance,” said Rep. Emily Sirota, who co-prime sponsored the bill in the House with Rep. Sonya Jaquez-Lewis.

“We should start (looking at options) as soon as possible because lives are on the line,” Sirota said.

The bill heads next heads to the House Appropriations Committee. Sen. Mike Foote is the Senate sponsor.

Passing the Health Care Cost Savings Act would help Coloradans decide what is the best health care system for the future by illuminating: The current health care system; universal health care via a multi-payer system that includes insurance companies; and universal health care via a publicly funded privately delivered system that pays providers directly.

Supporters include The Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care; the Colorado Social Legislation Committee; County Commissioners Acting Together; Health Care for All Colorado; Colorado Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers; Our Revolution Metro Denver; Our Revolution Boulder; Democratic Socialists of America (Denver Chapter); Arvadans for Progressive Action; Colorado Working Families; and Indivisible Colorado Legislative Table.

Under the Act, a bi-partisan-appointed Task Force would contract an analysis of costs, savings, and other social impacts to show how well each approach meets the health care needs of all Coloradans.

The study would reveal how many Coloradans are un- or under-insured in each scenario; how well those in rural areas could access health care affordably; and how well each pays for mental health, behavioral health, and reproductive health.

Coloradans would also see the overall costs of each system; how well each pays providers; and the indirect costs involved — such as when out-of-pocket expenses deplete life savings or people get too sick to work because they couldn’t afford preventative care.

A fiscal note requests almost $658 k over three years for the study, but funding can also come from gifts, grants and donations.

Learn more about the Health Care Cost Savings Act of 2019:

Check out this handy chart about what Colorado lawmakers will learn if the bill passes

Read a one-page bill summary here.

Read the current bill text here.

The Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care’s mission is guaranteed quality health care for all for life.