The bills we supported and why

The Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care gave FULL SUPPORT to bills that advance universal health care: That means actively promoting the legislation on our website and social media, mobilizing our supporters, providing testimony at committee hearings, sending letters to the editor, and whatever else we can do to move legislation forward.

The Foundation’s leadership teams also chose which bills to oppose, monitor, and support.

The Foundation gave limited SUPPORT to legislation that in some way improves aspects of the existing health care system. These are the bills that we:

Fully Supported: The Health Care Cost Analysis Act of 2018 would have vetted various proposals for universal health care. Rep. Edie Hooten was to introduce it in the House, but was not given late bill permission to do so.

Fully Supported: Rep. Joe Salazar’s HB18-1179 to Prohibit Price Gouging On Prescription Drugs would have allowed the Attorney General to roll back unconscionable increases in drug prices of off-patent and generic drugs, putting a stop to this illegal and deceptive trade practice in Colorado.

Supported: HB18-1358 Health Care Transparency Bill. Rep. Susan Beckman (R) was the only vote for the bill in the Health, Insurance and Environment Committee. She and Mike Foote (D) co-sponsored the bill but Foote is not a committee member and therefore had no vote. Foote did, however, introduce the bill before the committee arguing that consumers and patients do not have a functional market because of the lack of transparency in pricing. His theory was that transparency will lead to a functional market and that other bills dealing with health care are piecemeal — unlike price transparency. Transparency will be a “comprehensive” solution to the $1,000 boxes of Kleenex charged by some hospitals.
Many pharmacy associations, hospital groups, insurance reps, and assorted lobbyists in the health care field opposed 1358 on the grounds that the requirement of the law to list the highest prices charged was misleading due to various discounts, deals with health insurers, and charity price reductions – all of which would render that price posting requirement misleading since no one allegedly pays the list price. Some lobbyists speciously argued that price transparency legislation would raise anti-competitive concerns and lead to higher prices (because, for example, publication would alert lower-priced pharmacies to raise their rates to the higher price of competitors) and that the Federal Trade Commission had raised such concerns. This claim was plainly wrong and was refuted by actual statements made by the FTC.

HB18-1207 a bill requiring Hospital Financial Transparency Measures
HB18-1284 a bill requiring Disclosure Of Prescription Costs At Pharmacies
HB18-1260 a bill that would require Prescription Drug Price Transparency

All of these bills narrowly made it out of the House Committee on Health, Insurance & Environment by party-line votes.

Although such bills improve price transparency, they do not directly challenge drug price increases by either making them illegal or by introducing a market challenge that would put downward pressure on drug prices.

Fully Supported:
SB18-080: This excellent bill for a Wholesale Canadian Drug Importation Program would have allowed the 1import of prescription pharmaceuticals from Canada for sale to Colorado consumers. Sponsored by Sen. Irene Aguilar, M.D. and and Rep. Susan Lontine, the bill saw defeat, with Republicans killing it in a party-line vote.

We expect to see this excellent proposal resurface.

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