Colorado Lawmakers Finally Have A Hospital Provider Fee Deal, Here’s What’s In It

Photo: Colorado Capitol Jan 2017 4 | Building Looking East
The Colorado state Capitol building on Monday, Jan. 9, 2017.

With just days left to work, state lawmakers say they’re finally ready to move ahead with perhaps the biggest bill of the year.

Lawmakers announced a deal Thursday on bipartisan legislation that would make big changes to how Colorado manages its finances.

The deal, centered on something called the hospital provider fee, is a sweeping measure that touches nearly every aspect of state government spending — including health care, transportation, and taxes. The grand compromise comes after a dramatic public dust-up earlier this week, when Democrats and Republicans both charged each other with trying to scuttle the deal.

In the end, party leaders made key concessions that got them to an agreement.

The legislation’s major drivers are proposed cuts to hospitals in the 2017-2018 state budget. Without this bill, hospitals stand to lose $528 million, including federal matching dollars.

“Each side had different asks going into this, and I think because we're both not smiling really big, we both love and hate pieces of this - which is exactly where it should have ended up,” said Republican Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, who was part of a small group of lawmakers who worked on the deal.

The bill would also pump $1.8 billion in funding for roads and transportation projects. And about $120 million would be used to pay for the upkeep of state buildings, which is facing a backlog of deference maintenance. The state will use money from the sale and leasing of state buildings to pay for that.