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PNS Daily Newscast - June 14, 2019 


Hundreds of companies urge Trump to resolve tariff dispute with China. Also on our Friday rundown: California moves closer to universal health coverage. Plus, new Gulf restoration projects – a decade after the Deepwater Horizon spill.

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Stakeholder Input Underway on CO Public Health Insurance Option

The next stakeholder meeting on creating a public health-insurance option is scheduled for 9 a.m. June 13 at the Division of Insurance, 1560 Broadway, Denver. (Nick Youngson/Alpha Stock Images)
The next stakeholder meeting on creating a public health-insurance option is scheduled for 9 a.m. June 13 at the Division of Insurance, 1560 Broadway, Denver. (Nick Youngson/Alpha Stock Images)
June 6, 2019

DENVER – Colorado's efforts to create a public health insurance option that would compete against private insurers is off and running.

Gov. Jared Polis signed legislation in May that directs state agencies to develop and recommend a plan by November of this year, and are holding stakeholder meetings to get input.

Debra Brown, executive director of the group Good Business Colorado, says an affordable public option would help support small and medium-sized businesses across the state that want to offer coverage but can't make it work financially.

"At the end of the day, there's a benefit to people in our communities – not just our employees – but the general health of our community is important to the success of our businesses,” she states.

The next stakeholder meeting is set for June 13. Critics of a public option say the move will dramatically increase the size of government, and argue the state shouldn't be in the private insurance business.

The bill's sponsors point out that on the Western Slope there's only one company offering coverage, and argue that competition for health insurance dollars will drive down prices.

Brown says her group's members come from all sides of the political spectrum, but they share common values when it comes to outcomes, along with a need to show up and participate in creating a plan that works.

"We don't necessarily care about big government versus small government,” she stresses. “We want good government that works to meet the needs of Coloradans."

State agencies are looking for feedback on costs, funding sources, eligibility requirements and how to clear hurdles to win federal approval under the Affordable Care Act.

Mahi Palanisami is co-owner of Hypatia Studio, which offers 3-D printing STEM classes. She's hopeful a public option will eliminate some of the stress facing workers and business owners, who need their employees to be taken care of to succeed.

"And that we care, we want everyone to feel good when they come to work, that they know that they're protected and their families are protected, because it increases productivity at work," she states.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO