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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

Making Health Policy Huge Again

Sometimes one little decision can make a huge difference.

For the Colorado legislature, that decision came from voters in Adams County, who chose to send Republican Kevin Priola to the state Senate to fill the seat of a retiring Democrat. Priola’s victory allowed his party to hold on to the Senate majority, while Democrats continue to rule the House. This ensures another two years of divided government and radically changes the calculations for Democrats, who will find many of their plans blocked in the Senate.

CHI analyzes this dynamic and many other issues in our 2017 legislative forecast: “Huge Questions for Health: Policy Trends for Colorado Under President Trump.”

As the title makes clear, the new presidential administration promises to usher in changes that could have profound effects in Colorado. Had Donald Trump lost the race, Colorado legislators might have been talking about incremental changes to the state’s Medicaid program and experimenting with efforts to make insurance more affordable on the state’s marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado.

But Trump prevailed in close votes in three states in the Upper Midwest, and now legislators might have to confront fundamental changes to Medicaid and Connect for Health Colorado — and the federal government’s willingness to provide the funding that make these programs work at their current levels.

There’s no better word to describe health policy in 2017 than the one popularized by the president-elect: Huge.

We publish our annual legislative forecast to help you prepare for the 2017 session, which starts January 11. It’s full of information on the coming debates, from the detailed, wonky policy choices about issues such as prescription drug costs and freestanding emergency departments to the big-league national fights that will reverberate here in Colorado.

The drama in Washington makes this legislative session especially unpredictable. Stick with CHI throughout the 120-day session to keep up on all the action. Because as the election taught us, a debate that seems minor now could end up being the next huge thing.