Mar 6, 2020 - Health

Colorado's public option takes on its hospital system

Illustration of a health plus peeling back revealing a hundred dollar bill on the reverse side.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Colorado legislature introduced its public option bill yesterday, taking one step further in one of the country's most timely health policy experiments.

Between the lines: The bill takes on hospitals as part of how it lowers costs, which is likely what Democrats would end up trying to do should they win the presidency.

Details: The bill establishes hospital reimbursement rates beginning at 155% of Medicare, with the option of adjustments for certain hospitals, per the Public Option Institute.

  • It requires that all hospitals participate in the public option, giving the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment the authority to fine and suspend or revoke the license of hospitals that don't participate.
  • The public option would also be required to provide pre-deductible coverage for behavioral health care, which could make that care more accessible.

Go deeper: Colorado offers lessons for Democrats on creating a public option

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