Colorado following Washington State's lead on a Public Option, potentially with more forethought?

via the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Colorado's Senate advanced another piece of Democratic Gov. Jared Polis' health care agenda on Tuesday by tentatively endorsing a study on creating a state-run health insurance option.

The bill would direct state agencies to recommend a plan that would compete with existing private insurance plans and those offered on Colorado's health care exchange. Another Senate vote sends the study bill to the governor. It's already cleared the House on a bipartisan 46-17 vote.

On the surface, this sounds pretty much like the state-level Public Option bill which has quietly been rushed through the Washington State legislature over the past few weeks. Unlike the Washington bill, however, it looks like the Colorado legislature is covering a few more bases...particularly funding:

The public option legislation directs the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and the Department of Regulatory Agencies to present a proposal in November. The plan would assess costs, funding sources, necessary federal permissions and funding, consumer eligibility and who in government would run a plan.

Supporters say enrollment could begin in 2020 and a plan could start operating in 2021. Sponsors include Sen. Kerry Donovan and Rep. Dylan Roberts, both Democrats, and Republican Rep. Marc Catlin.

Assuming the ACA survives the #TexasFoldEm lawsuit, the 2021 Open Enrollment Period is going to have a lot going on. Not only will New Mexico be launching their own ACA exchange that fall (Nevada's is going live this November, and rumor has it that Pennsylvania may be prepping to move off of HealthCare.Gov in 2021 as well), but Washington's PO will be launched at the same time...and all of it will be happening in the thick of the 2020 election to boot.

Again, it's important to note that these states aren't twiddling their thumbs waiting for either "Medicare for All" or "Medicare for America" to pass, which makes total sense since a) either one would require a Democratic trifecta which is in no way guaranteed, and b) even then, no major healthcare bill is going to actually go into effect until at least 2022 at the very earliest anyway.


...Majority Democrats in the Legislature are expected to send him bills to create a state reinsurance program to help private insurers lower premiums; a prescription drug price transparency bill; and a bill to get the federal government's permission to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada.

Stay tuned...