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A Bouquet of Health Bills: CHI's Legislative Round-Up

It’s Valentine’s week, and what better way to celebrate the importance of relationships, communication and compromise than with a look into Colorado’s 2018 legislative session? 

Let’s look at some early-session stats:

  • Days into session: 34
  • Days to go: 86
  • Bills introduced: 404
  • Health-related bills on CHI staff’s watch list: 90+
  • Wild West flyers presented in committee hearings: 1 (that we’re aware of)

    We know it’s not all sunshine and roses over at the Capitol, but Representative Hugh McKean did make a box to collect and mail his colleagues’ valentines with a coveted postmark from his hometown, Loveland. (If you wanted your cards stamped by the Sweetheart City, we hope they’re already in the mail.)

    Rep. Hugh McKean made a box to collect and mail his colleagues' valentines from his hometown, Loveland.
    Representative Hugh McKean (R-Loveland) wants to help you celebrate Valentine's Day.

    Bills To Watch

    CHI tracks legislation and works to ensure our policymakers have the data and evidence they need to make informed decisions — but we never push for a certain outcome.

    Some of the legislation we’re keeping a close eye on this session:

    • Six bills from last year’s Interim Committee on Opioids and Other Substance Use. These bills propose a variety of ways to tackle the opioid epidemic in Colorado, from limiting clinical prescribing of addictive painkillers to allowing safe use facilities for current drug users. All six bills — House Bill 1003, HB 1007, HB 1136, Senate Bill 22, SB 24 and SB 40 — are all still alive. Only two bills have had a committee hearing thus far, so plenty of action remains on the topic.
    • Two bills targeting freestanding emergency departments (SB 146 and HB 1212). These facilities are particularly common in Colorado, and some legislators worry that they can be expensive and don’t make their pricing clear up front. Both bills have bipartisan sponsorship. Will they succeed where related efforts have failed?
    • A bill that would require greater transparency from hospitals (HB 1207). A similar bill failed in the Senate last year. Another proposal (SB 155) is aimed at expanding hospitals’ requirements for community benefits reporting.
    • Several bills proposing changes to insurance plan offerings and reporting: SB 132, HB 1205 and SB 130.
    • A variety of others, tackling subjects from pharmacy choice (HB 1097) to child and youth mental health (HB 1094) to the creation of an interim committee focused on health care issues (HB 1118).

    And we know more health policy legislation is on its way. That includes a rumored third bill aimed at regulating freestanding EDs, bills to require more pricing transparency for pharmaceuticals and health care services and a proposal requesting a federal waiver for a state reinsurance program. CHI staff will be blogging on these topics throughout the spring. 

    CHI at the Capitol

        The CHI team has stayed busy with a variety of legislative events: We hosted our annual kick-off breakfast at the Capitol on January 18, spoke about CHI’s nonpartisan resources before the House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee on January 23 and presented on behavioral health along with members of the Colorado Coalition for Parity on January 30. We’ve fielded data and information requests from legislators and staff. We've also presented on the opioid epidemic, a subject we anticipate hearing a lot about this session.

        Just gave a tough presentation on opioids at an Aurora town hall. I’m inspired by how engaged the crowd is on this lovely Saturday. Thanks to @repjanetbuckner, @senrhondafields, @mjweissman, @nancytodd28 and Arapaho cmsr Nancy Jackson

        — Joe Hanel (@CHI_joehanel) February 3, 2018


        If you’re a legislator reading this, please reach out if we can be of assistance to you.

        There's a lot to watch, especially given how fast-paced our state’s annual legislative session is. But we love what we do. We also love that you read these updates — so, health policy nerd, here’s a Valentine’s shout-out to you. (And remember to sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on individual bills and round-up posts like this one.)

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