As the Denver Post’s Saja Hindi reports:
More than half of Colorado voters are in favor of the state creating a public insurance health option and nearly three-quarters support setting limits on prescription drug costs, according to a new survey by a progressive political group.
Strategies 360, a political consulting firm, surveyed 600 registered voters in Colorado earlier this month by phone, and the results, first reported by The Denver Post, show widespread support for health care reforms in the state. The survey was paid for by the State Innovative Exchange, known as SiX, a national group that works to advance progressive changes. About 4 in 10 survey participants were unaffiliated voters with the rest split almost evenly between Republicans and Democrats. The margin of error was 4%.
The possibility of a public option in Colorado has garnered significant attention since last year. Proponents say they are working to reduce costs for the consumer, while opponents insist that it will have unintended costs for hospitals and quality of care, with money pouring in from special interest groups opposing the model. Still, results from the survey showed a majority of Coloradans — 58 percent — favor a public option, with 82% of liberals, 63% of moderates and 41% of conservatives supporting it. The survey showed particularly strong support — 55% — on the Western Slope, where residents have struggled with some of the highest health care costs in the country.
Set to be one of the biggest ideological battles in this year’s session of the Colorado legislature, a “public option” to compete against traditional for-profit insurance plans to bring costs down was at one point a central plank of the 2010 Affordable Care Act–jettisoned from the bill late in the process in order to win over a few recalcitrant Democratic Senators. The proposal coming together for Colorado in 2020 is for coverage plans that would still be sold by private insurers, but follow tighter cost control rules primarily on the provider payment side to deliver a lower-priced product, with the same essential coverage and less deductible expense to consumers.
Which means, of course, that it’s about to be absolutely vilified by Republican opponents and the for-profit health care lobby as the second coming of [insert 20th Century communist despot here]! But after a decade of pitched partisan political warfare over healthcare reform, much of which has had little if any tethering to reality, this poll says pretty clearly that Colorado voters are ready to take some of the next logical steps on the issue–reforms that were on the table a decade ago, and would still have merit today.