Lawmakers Will Not Consider ‘Public Health Care Option’ This Year

Death Penalty Repeal House Committee Hearing
Lawmakers on the state House Judiciary Committee hear from supporters and opponents on Tuesday Feb. 19, 2020, of a bill calling for the repeal of the death penalty in Colorado. Democratic state Rep. Dylan Roberts sits on the committee.

The backers of a bill that would have created a state-backed health-care plan have officially shelved their effort for this year.

"A pandemic that causes thousands to lose employer-based health coverage clearly illustrates the need for a Colorado Option," tweeted Rep Dylan Roberts. The Avon Democrat was one of the bill's prime sponsors.

"However, big bills like this require engagement from all perspectives throughout the legislative process and that is not possible now as our state and health care providers are rightly focused on responding to #COVID19. When the time is right, we'll continue the work on this."

The "Colorado option" plan had been shaping up to be one of the legislature's biggest fights this year, before the pandemic forced the lawmakers to take a historic pause and threw their priorities into disarray. However, sponsors have acknowledged for a while that the policy, which could come at a high cost to hospitals, likely wouldn't have legs when the legislature reconvenes.

In response to the news that the sponsors are dropping the bill, the Colorado Hospital Association said in a statement that it is committed to ensuring Coloradans and have affordable coverage and access to health care.

“We look forward to getting back to work with our legislators very soon and developing solutions that do not adversely impact Colorado hospitals, on whom people depend to provide access to care, and which will have suffered a projected $3 billion financing blow from the COVID-19 pandemic by the end of this year.”