Health Care Commission Heating Up This Summer

As the issue of health care burns brightly this summer on the national stage of presidential speeches and debates, the future of health care reform in Colorado is slowly taking shape. The Blue Ribbon Commission on Healthcare Reform (sometimes called the 208 Commission) pared its list of 31 reform proposals down to the top four in May, and preliminary analyses on those are due in mid-July. The proposals were submitted by various groups across the state, and the four selected for consideration represent a spectrum of ideas on how to expand coverage and create a stable, cost-effective health care system in Colorado.

Read on for an overview of the commission and watch in the coming weeks for a look at each of the four health care proposals now being considered.The commission was created by the legislature in 2006 as a body charged with studying health care reform in Colorado. Its 27 members were appointed by both Republicans and Democrats and represent the variety of people affected by the health insurance crisis.

The commission has hired The Lewin Group to conduct technical evaluations of the four proposals, including such factors as cost impacts, utilization and design. The Lewin Group is scheduled to present its findings to the commission July 17 at a public meeting.

Four task forces – focusing on business, rural areas, providers and vulnerable populations – will also be considering the proposals and their impacts on those specific areas. The task forces will present their findings to the commission in mid-August.

Recognizing that the best plan for reform might include elements of different proposals, the commission will also develop a fifth proposal and submit it to the task forces and The Lewin Group for analysis.

In late fall, the commission will hold hearings in the state’s seven congressional districts to get feedback from the public, and in January the commission will present its final findings to the General Assembly.