Colorado lawmakers propose ‘public option’ health care plan

DENVER -- Health care is among the major topics the new Democratic majority is poised to debate at the Colorado State Capitol. Some believe Colorado should offer a public option for health insurance.

“The state should offer a public option,” said Rep. Dylan Roberts (D-Eagle).

Roberts has authorized legislation to do just that.

“You would pay your premium to the state government. They're the ones that would back up the back end of the insurance and they don’t have a profit motive like private insurance companies do,” Roberts said.

The legislation, which does have a Republican cosponsor, directs state agencies to craft a public-option proposal in the coming months. The federal government would need to sign off on the proposal before full statewide implementation could occur.

Most conservatives have their reservations about the proposal.

“I think it makes folks nervous,” State Sen. Jim Smallwood (R-Douglas County) said. “Public entities are known for operating in deficits."

Republicans, however, have little sway with the current Democratic-majority assembly. Democrats would have enough votes to make the public option a reality in Colorado and Gov. Jared Polis seemed to suggest support earlier this week in a press conference.

“A public option is something I’ve historically supported,” Polis said.

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