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Public option fight heating up ahead of General Assembly session

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DENVER -- It is starting to feel like 2009 again in Colorado with a health care fight over the public option brewing.

In listing some of his priorities ahead of the upcoming General Assembly session recently, Gov. Jared Polis listed a public option as one of them.

"A public option that reduces premiums," Polis said during a recent press conference.

However, hospitals and insurers are not pleased with the progression of the idea -- launching a six-figure ad blitz across Colorado television stations ahead of General Assembly session.

The commercial, paid for by Partnership for America's Health Care Future, alleges "the government controlled system" will hurt current health care in the state and cost people jobs.

The plan calls for a public option to be offered beginning in 2022. Initially, it will only be offered to Coloradans who buy insurance on their own, which is estimated to be around 200,000 people.

Most insurers in Colorado would be required to offer the program and hospitals would be required to accept it.

Perhaps most dramatically, the plan calls for the state to limit how much can be charged for a particular medical treatment.

The state estimates a savings of 9-18%.

State Rep. Dylan Roberts (D-Edwards) pushed back against the commercial Thursday. Roberts will run the public option bill and introduce it in a few weeks.

"We are building a plan that won't cost Colorado taxpayers any additional dollars -- it will just be a choice," Roberts said.

Roberts said it will first be offered to people who buy health insurance on their own and not impact the majority of Coloradans who get their insurance through their employer.

"Nobody is forced onto their plan," Roberts said.

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