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Draft of public option bill shows healthcare industry has two years to reduce premiums by 20%

Democrats who control the state legislature will try to pass an ultimatum for Colorado's health insurance companies: lower premiums or the state gets more involved.

DENVER — Colorado Politics has obtained a copy of the draft bill that could soon become the Colorado Option Health Benefit Plan, and it shows that the 2021 version is drastically different than the version presented in 2020.

Rep. Dylan Roberts, D-Eagle, and Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, will champion the bill through the General Assembly in the coming weeks.

The biggest difference in the bill is a provision that the healthcare industry will, at least for the next two years, be responsible for figuring out how to hit a target of a 20% reduction in health insurance premiums for the individual market, which is about 8% of those insured statewide.

It’s a minimum two-step process but with a longer timeline, Roberts told Colorado Politics. “We thought it was appropriate to push this out a bit” due to the pandemic and “the new world we live in,” he said. The sponsors also accepted a recommendation from the industry, made last year, to allow them time to achieve premium reductions on their own without government rules or mandates.

Kathryn Mulready of the Colorado Hospital Association said Tuesday that "I’ll take a market-based approach over a state-based approach any day."

> 9NEWS readers can view the full story at Colorado Politics.

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