Colorado rural health care bill dies in Senate | SummitDaily.com

Colorado rural health care bill dies in Senate

A proposed law that already received strong endorsement in the state House died in the State Affairs Committee Monday when its five-member panel declined to send the rural health bill to the full Senate floor for a vote.

House Bill 17-1235, co-sponsored by Reps. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Eagle/Routt, and Millie Hamner, D-Summit/Pitkin, envisioned expanded financial assistance for those paying more than 15 percent of their annual incomes on insurance premiums. The bill would have created a state fund on which to draw for individuals meeting that qualification and falling below the 500 percent federal poverty level. Presently a subsidy is granted at the 400 percent threshold.

The bill was designed specifically to assist individuals and families living in the rural Western Slope and Eastern Plains communities where insurance premiums and health care costs are well over double those of the Front Range. On Monday, the bill was postponed indefinitely in the State Affairs Committee rather than being sent to its Senate health-related equivalent.

"It was a disappointing day yesterday," said Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs. "The bill went down in flames and didn't even go to the right committee. It was just totally partisan. It's just heartbreaking."