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Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
► The public option bill is in the House (and, also, the Senate). From Colorado Newsline:
A group of Colorado Democrats officially introduced legislation that would potentially create the Colorado Option: a lower-cost, nonprofit-managed health insurance plan sold on the individual and small group markets that all providers would be required to accept.
Under the legislation, the Colorado Option would only become available — starting in 2025 — if private insurance carriers failed to reduce premiums by 20% over two years for standard individual and small group plans sold on the state’s exchange.
The public option would be carried by a quasi-governmental nonprofit entity called the Colorado Option Authority, set up by the state and managed by a board of directors. Individual and small group plans carried by the authority would have to achieve a 20% cut in premiums as compared with 2021 rates, and all health care providers in the state would be required to accept the plans.
The health care industry is all fired up in opposition to this, which should tell you everything you need to know about which side to be on.
► House Minority Leader Hugh McKean (R-Loveland) is about four months into his job. It’s not going well. McKean appears to be in over his head at the State Capitol.
Now, let’s catch up on more news from the Colorado legislature:
Colorado Newsline looks at the progress of legislation that would improve wages and working conditions for farm workers.
A proposal to put a fence around parts of the State Capitol continues to draw opposition from former Colorado leaders.
► Now that Colorado’s Independent Redistricting Commissions have been selected, it’s time to get to work on those new maps…maybe. As The Colorado Sun reports in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter:
This week, Gov. Jared Polis, the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Colorado General Assembly, and the co-chairs of the campaign for Amendments Y and Z urged the congressional commission to push ahead using population estimates from 2019. There are, however, questions about the legality of doing so.
Jeremiah Barry, a legislative attorney and legal counsel for the congressional redistricting commission, said he isn’t opposed to using the estimated data to get the commission’s work started, but he thinks the Colorado Supreme Court should be asked first if that’s OK.
State lawmakers are now planning to do just that, said Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, a Boulder Democrat. Initially, legislative leaders were going to ask the Colorado Supreme Court to push back September and December map-drawing deadlines placed in the Colorado Constitution when voters passed Amendments Y and Z in 2018. That’s no longer in the cards.
The redistricting commissions should be able to start working on maps based on 2018 Census data, at the very least.
► Colorado is doing a great job of vaccinating adults over the age of 65. We aren’t doing quite so well with everyone else. The last subgroup to become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine is activated today; the next step is to open up eligibility for all Coloradans.
President Biden, meanwhile, says the U.S. should hit his goal of 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in his first 100 days by today — 40 days ahead of schedule.
More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…