State Senate kill committee kills health insurance subsidy bill

Republican State Sen. Bob Rankin, left, and Democrat Rep. Diane Mitch Bush, right, worked together to address the high cost of health insurance in Colorado's High Country and Eastern Plains. Mitch Bush's bill was killed by a Senate committee on a party line vote.
Colorado Statesman |

DENVER — You know State Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush’s bill to help high country residents pay our outsized health insurance premiums?

The one she said was pushed into the Senate committee most likely to kill it?

They killed it.

The Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee voted, 3-2, along party lines to kill Mitsch Bush’s H.B. 17-1235 — three Republicans against, two from rural districts, and two Democrats in favor.

“I was surprised they voted against it. They know it would help the constituents in their districts.”Diane Mitsch BushState Representative, D-Steamboat Springs

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“I was surprised they voted against it. They know it would help the constituents in their districts,” Mitsch Bush said.

The bill aimed to hold health insurance costs to no more than 15 percent of a family’s annual income in Colorado’s Western Slope and eastern plains.

To be eligible, your income must not exceed 500 percent of the federal poverty level — $121,500 for a family of four and $48,361 for an individual. You must be spending more than 15 percent of your household income on individual health insurance premiums.

It has been a tough week for Mitsch Bush. Not only did her health insurance subsidy bill die in committee, the house transportation tax proposal she worked on also died Tuesday.

“You bounce back up and keep at it,” Mitsch Bush said, when asked what she would do next.

She’s running a bill to line up DUI and Colorado’s hit-and-run laws. It attempts to get rid of the incentive to run from the scene of an accident by mandating that your license will be suspended when you’re caught. Right now, you get to keep your license until you’re convicted, Mitsch Bush said.

In the meantime, a legislative conference committee will finish hammering out the state budget.

Unlike the federal budget, Colorado’s state budget has to balance.

“The budget is the one thing the state constitution says we have to do,” Mitsch Bush said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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