Expanded health care is Colo. panel’s goal | VailDaily.com

Expanded health care is Colo. panel’s goal

Steven K. Paulson
Associated Press Writer
Vail, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Members of a panel reviewing proposals to reform Colorado’s health care system said Monday they want to issue a consolidated plan on ways the state can provide coverage for 770,000 Coloradans who lack health insurance.

Committee members said they will combine the best of 31 plans they reviewed when they make their recommendations to lawmakers and Gov. Bill Ritter.

Bill Lindsay, chairman of the Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform, said the commission picked four proposals for closer scrutiny to find out how much they would cost and who would pay.

Of the four proposals:

– One would include no mandates and would provide a basic benefit package through a large pool with a cap on benefits up to $50,000.

– One would require all Coloradans to have health insurance.

– One would include individual and employer mandates to provide coverage or pay an assessment.

– One that would create a single-payer program administered like a public utility, with premiums charged through income tax or payroll deductions.

The panel said last week it had reduced the number of plans to 11, but members took another vote late Friday and cut it to four.

Lindsay said an initial report is due in July and the final recommendations to the governor and lawmakers will be issued in January.

Lindsay said some of the proposals could be expensive and would possibly require a tax increase that would need voter approval under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

“That is a concern. That is not something we took lightly,” he said.

Lindsay said some of the issues that the commission will still have to iron out include definitions of who is covered, such as part time and full-time workers.

He said guiding principles the commission used in making its decisions included accessibility, improvements to the current system, cost, and whether the proposal provided preventive coverage including wellness programs and public education.

Support Local Journalism