Colorado Gov. Polis creates Office of Saving People Money on Health Care through executive order

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Posted at 11:32 AM, Jan 23, 2019

DENVER – Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order Wednesday morning that creates the Office of Saving People Money on Health Care – the first step in his administration’s plan to study and address increasing health care costs in Colorado.

The office will be led by Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera, a cancer survivor whom Polis said would be “spending a fair amount of time” working to address health care costs and saving people money.

Polis and Primavera said at a news conference before the governor signed the order that Primavera would be working with health care experts, stakeholders, lawmakers and state employees to identify some of the pertinent issues.

“During my battle with cancer, I was lucky to be in the care of incredible medical professionals with my family by my side. We want to make sure that every Coloradan can afford the same support system I did,” Primavera said.

Among the proposals the office aims to develop are ways to increase competition in rural and mountain communities, increasing price transparency for hospital visits and pharmaceuticals and improving access to primary and behavioral health services, the administration said.

Polis made clear in his State of the State address and in his first budget proposal that the creation of the office and the work it aims to do were among his top priorities this year.

The office would also be tasked with working with lawmakers to put together a reinsurance program in Colorado which he has said would “essentially provide insurance for insurance companies” to help pay for the coverage of the highest-risk Coloradans.

The creation of the office includes a funding request of $247,000, Polis said. He added that he hoped the measures that the office aims to address will have bipartisan or nonpartisan support because no matter one’s party, “they’re all being ripped off,” Polis said.

Sen. Kerry Donovan and Rep. Dylan Roberts -- two Democrats who have introduced measures to expand health care options in Colorado by creating a public option -- both praised Polis' order.

"After watching our legislation to lower health care costs die on a party-line vote in recent years, we are looking forward to bringing our cutting edge solution to save people money on health care to Governor Polis' desk for him to sign into law and make sure that this new office can begin its missing with legislative success," the two said in a joint statement. "We are excited to see Governor Polis sign an executive order that sends an unmistakable message that this administration will make lowering the cost of health care a priority."

Click here to read the full executive order.