DENVER (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis says he wants to lower health care costs. He and a large group of lawmakers introduced nine new bills Thursday, saying their goal is to bring down medical costs for all Coloradans.

Most of the nine bills look to reduce health care costs for Coloradans. Others look to expand health care options and hold the healthcare industry accountable.

“Colorado ranks among the top 10 for hospital price and hospital profits, meaning people in our state overpay more than people in other states around the country for hospital care,” Polis said at a press conference for the unveiling of the bills.

Public option, drug prices, hospital rules considered

Polis and a bunch of lawmakers said they want to change that as they unveiled the nine bills, starting with a bill to improve existing efforts like the Colorado Public Health Option. The program passed back in 2021 and is designed to make sure insurance companies offer lower premiums to Coloradans.

“Under the bill we are proposing today, certain expenses, such as excessive profits and administrative costs, will not be able to be passed down to the consumer. The bill also improves the rate review process to ensure that plans reduce premiums for consumers,” said sponsor and state Rep. Iman Jodeh.

Another bill looks to make sure employers are not being overcharged for prescription drugs.

“We introduced House bill 1201 to prohibit pharmaceutical companies and health insurance carriers from charging Colorado employers more than what they reimburse pharmacies for that medication, protecting business owners from price gouging,” said sponsor and state Rep. Lindsey Daugherty.

Another measure would require large hospitals with a nonprofit status to invest money back into their communities for projects of the community’s choosing.

“We are asking that you at least have a minimum amount that is dictated by the community process. So some minimum amount has got to go towards the community benefits that your community actually wants,” said sponsor and state Rep. Judy Amabile.

Drug affordability board could get more leeway

It was not that long ago that the state implemented a drug affordability board. They now want to change the number of reviews the board takes up, despite the Department of Insurance saying they have not done any yet.

“We want to help save people money on their prescription drugs by removing the limit that the board can only do 12 affordability reviews per year, for three years. There are thousands of medications on the market. Limiting it to 12 makes no sense,” said bill sponsor and state Sen. Sonya Jaquez Lewis.

Other efforts include increasing mental providers for schools and increasing transparency for hospital income reporting.