Feb 27, 2020 - Health

Colorado offers lessons for Democrats on creating a public option

Gov. Jared Polis leaves the Colorado State House floor

Gov. Jared Polis leaves the Colorado State House floor on Jan. 9. Photo: AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado lawmakers are preparing to vote on the state's public option proposal, providing an example of what happens when politicians take on the health care industry, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Democrats by and large want to do the same thing on a national scale, but promising more affordable coverage for everyone is a lot easier than actually passing legislation to make it happen.

Details: Colorado's public option would be run by private insurers, although it would more tightly limit insurers' profits and administrative costs. Insurers don't like the additional regulation.

  • The proposal lowers premiums in the individual market by lowering what hospitals are paid — so the state's hospital industry is fiercely opposing it, too.

The intrigue: A local affiliate of the Partnership for America's Health Care Future Action — the group opposing Medicare for All nationally — paid for a mailer that warned Coloradans that the proposal would raise costs and lead to hospital closures.

  • Expect that exact same messaging if Democrats seize power in the 2020 elections — except on a much, much larger scale.

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