Since the legislative session ended May 7, the Colorado Health Institute has been hard at work analyzing the key health policy trends of 2014. That work culminated yesterday with the release of our annual Legislation in Review report, which provides an overview of the session’s major health-related bills and themes.
The report describes a building year in which lawmakers focused their efforts on making sure that major health policy changes of the past few years – both state and federal – are working the ”Colorado way.”
Federal health reform ramped up in 2014, which seemed to suppress the appetite for major state-level policy changes. As a result, most of this year’s bills did not tackle significant overhauls. In addition, last year’s recall elections narrowed the Democratic majority in the Senate, making it more difficult for Democrats to get their bills passed.
Still, we saw plenty of noteworthy legislation. Legislators created a high-profile commission to address the increasing cost of health care. And they made significant investments in health technology and behavioral health, while passing ground-breaking regulations for the burgeoning retail marijuana industry. Other bills tackled a range of issues, from childhood immunizations to experimental drugs for the terminally ill.
The report notes that many bills failed to make it to the governor’s desk, and in some ways the 2014 legislative session was characterized almost as much by the health bills that didn’t pass as it was by those that did. But even the failed measures initiated discussions that are sure to resurface in future sessions, and our report provides a sneak preview of the policy issues that could be on the horizon for Colorado.
You can download the report or listen to yesterday’s webinar at our website.