health care costs Colorado HB19-1001

A bill to increase transparency for health care costs in Colorado’s hospitals is headed to Governor Jared Polis’ desk.

“The high cost of health care is harming both Colorado consumers and businesses,” said Rep. Chris Kennedy (D-Lakewood), who sponsored the bill. “Hardworking people are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of health care, particularly in rural Colorado where we’re seeing some of the highest premiums in the country. By requiring hospitals to be transparent about their spending, we can increase competition in a way that will reduce costs for all.”

The bill passed with bipartisan support in the House with a vote of 39-22 on Jan. 31, according to a news release from Colorado House Democrats. HB19-1001 passed with bipartisan support in the Senate with a vote of 34-1 on Mar. 14. It was brought back to the House to approve an amendment added in the Senate, which was concurred.

With the new amendment added, the bill passed in the House with a bipartisan final vote of 43-21 today, according to the release.

“I am happy to see this bill passed with such strong bipartisan support in the House and the Senate,” Rep. Kennedy said. “By identifying inefficiencies and wasteful spending, businesses and payers will be able to choose more efficient options and lower hospital costs.”

According to data collected by the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), hospital costs account for 39 percent of health care spending nationwide. Physician and clinical services account for 26 percent, and prescription drugs and other non-durable medical products account for 11 percent, according to the release.

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HB19-1001 will require hospitals to disclose more information about spending on patient care, administration, capital construction, and acquisitions of physician groups, and will require hospitals to show how they’re shifting costs onto the backs of families and businesses.

In addition, the release stated, the data provided to the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing will inform the supplemental payments made to hospitals through the Colorado Healthcare Affordability and Sustainability Enterprise to incentivize value, not volume.