The Colorado Independent reported yesterday that Colorado Senate President Pro Tem Jerry Sonnenberg may stray from his party line in support of shifting the Hospital Provider Fee to an enterprise fund.

Democrats have supported reclassifying the fee to an enterprise fund, which would free up much-needed cash for health care, transportation and education projects now subject to voter approval under Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights stipulations. Republicans have argued the state fee on hospitals, which is used to provide low-income Coloradans with care and to help the state pay for Medicaid expenses, is a tax and should be subject to TABOR restrictions.

According to some projections, the reclassification would free up more than $350 million per year. The fee generates approximately $700 million per year.

“Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert of Parker said Sonnenberg had briefed the Republican Senate caucus on the bill [March 20], and while he hasn’t seen a draft, Holbert told The Independent that Sonnenberg has a lot of respect from the caucus for trying to figure out a solution for rural hospitals,” according to The Colorado Independent’s report.

To read the Colorado Independent’s story in full, visit coloradoindependent.com/164502/sonnenberg-hospital-provider-fee.