Colorado begins the 2023 legislative session with a renewed commitment to bipartisanship and health care affordability – the state of the fix

The 74th Colorado legislature held its first session of 2023 on Monday with lawmakers passing proposals in both houses to adopt committee references. Joint health committee consisting of House Health and Insurance Committee and the Senate Health and Human Services CommitteeIt is scheduled to hold its first meetings on Wednesday and Thursday.

Addressing his colleagues, Senate Chair Steve Feinberg (D-Boulder) stressed the need to work together to address the many issues facing the state.

“Possibly the biggest problem and perhaps the hardest problem to solve is the runaway costs that families and businesses face,” Feinberg said. “Although it has gotten out of our hands at some points, let’s choose to focus on the areas that we really control. When it comes to the cost of housing, Colorado is getting less and less affordable every year. Let’s work together and fix this problem before we turn to San Francisco.” .

There is no doubt that Colorado will continue to grow. It turns out that people love to live here. But the real question is how are we going to grow? Will this be done in a way that pushes people out of their communities and away from places of work and play? Or will this be done in a way that prioritizes denser housing along transit corridors? It’s never too late to pursue smart growth, as our air quality, pocket books and our entire quality of life depend on it. And of course, we will need to address all of these issues in an uncertain economic environment. It is likely to be a difficult balancing year as we settle into the reality of global economic conditions.”

Democratic lawmakers representing the western slope – House Speaker-designate Julie McCluskey (D- Dillion), Representative-elect Megan Lukens (D- Steamboat Springs), Representative-elect Elizabeth Velasco (D- Glenwood Springs), and Senator-elect Dylan Roberts ( D- Avon) – A virtual town hall was held on Thursday, where they set their priorities before the new session.

The city council has set open enrollment for the state’s affordable health insurance plans known as Colorado cucumberwhich I started covering on January 1st.

All companies that sell health insurance in the state must offer “Options” plans with a specific combination of lower fixed costs and lower premiums intended to make health care affordable and available to residents.

These plans are also an option for those who may lose Medicaid coverage when redefinitions begin in April. Premium tax credits and deductions through federal financial assistance and cost-sharing based on family size and annual income provide fewer expenses to cover.

“I know our caucus will be very focused on affordability in Colorado in the ways that we look at the most important expenses of the family budget: housing, health care, and child care,” McCluskey said. “These are issues that we’ve worked on over the past few years and have had the opportunity to really lead, putting over $420 million into affordable housing just last year. So I expect our agency to continue to work on that affordability and make sure that the challenges The big hierarchy that people face in their family budgets becomes affordable.”

The majority party looks to strengthen government coverage requirements for private health plans to expand access to preventive care and include coverage of reproductive, oral and behavioral health services. Democrats hold more than two-thirds in the House and Senate this year, 46 of the 65 seats in the House and 23 of the 35 seats, less than an absolute majority, with one seat in the Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundin (R-CO Springs) expressed optimism about the session in his opening remarks, echoing those of other Republicans. Calls for bipartisanship.

“A lot of the issues discussed during this past session, and the previous election, have not been resolved,” Lundin said. “They are still with us. The work on these practical matters presses us even now. It is tradition in this building to claim that this policy or that piece of legislation is bipartisan. Applying the name of a member or sometimes the name of two members of the other party has been the accepted procedure for that claim.”

From now on, we suggest that the mark that gives an honest buy to a bipartisan claim is the tone, the substance, the clear principles, and the meaningful details folded into the legislation. We hope the majority will listen to our ideas and incorporate the best of them into what we, together, ultimately offer to the people of Colorado.”

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