After hours of informative and emotionally moving testimony in support of the Colorado Health Care Cooperative, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed SCR13-002, Sen. Irene Aguilar’s bill. The bill passed 4-3 on party lines.
Also passed was Sen. Aguilar’s SJR13-021 bill to create an interim committee to study ways to create a comprehensive health care system for all Coloradans. We’re excited about this also. SJR13-021 was introduced last week to meet the deadline for interim committee bill submissions. Most people are not even aware of the bill. Below is basic information. The bill and additional information can be found on our website.
The next steps happen fast, especially for SJR13-021 which goes to the Senate floor for a debate and a vote almost immediately. Start contacting all of the senators now. Ask them to ACTIVELY SUPPORT the referendum for the Colorado Health Care Cooperative. Urge them to vote YES for an interim committee to address the health care cost challenges.
The interim committee would consist of a variety of stakeholders appointed by legislative leaders and the governor. The bill references the findings in Dr. Friedman’s economic analysis indicating that Colorado could save almost $5 billion during the first year of operation of the Cooperative, while providing for comprehensive health care for all Coloradans. More savings accrue as time continues. That’s too compelling to ignore. In six public meetings during the “interim” between legislative sessions, committee members would analyze innovative options. Members could build on the work already completed by the Exchanges and other reform activities to facilitate Colorado’s success in obtaining the waivers necessary to allow states to create their own health care systems. This could advance the Cooperative significantly.
If SCR13-002 for the Colorado Health Care Cooperative does not get the 2/3s vote of the Legislature needed to put it on the ballot in November, the interim committee provides an opportunity to continue informing Coloradans of the Cooperative. In 2014 the Cooperative can be placed on the ballot as either a referred measure from the Legislature or as a Citizens’ Initiative. This Committee can be a powerful tool for education and alliance building.
Some Senators think we should wait until the Exchange proves that the Affordable Care Act doesn’t work before developing contingency plans, even while they acknowledge that the current system is broken. Let’s not make people “wait” and let’s not let the economy suffer. Colorado can be prepared and can continue to be a leading health care state when legislators support SCR13-002 and SJR13-021.