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Lawmakers to Consider Repeal of Colorado's Hospital Provider Fee

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Jeffrey Beall
/
Craig Hospital in Englewood

A bill that aims to repeal Colorado’s hospital provider fee has a hearing before the House Health and Environment Committee Thursday.  But supporters argue the legislation has been a win-win for both hospitals and the uninsured.

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In April of 2009, Colorado became the 26th state to pass a hospital provider fee statute.  The law passed with bipartisan support from public officials and healthcare providers.  The fee helps expand healthcare access for the poor, while helping hospitals recoup their ‘uncompensated care’ costs incurred treating the uninsured and Medicaid patients. 

Cody Belzley is Vice President of Public Affairs for the Colorado Children’s Campaign.  She helped draft the plan while serving in former Governor Bill Ritter’s administration. 

“We approached this policy in partnership with Colorado hospitals as a way to reduce that uncompensated care, to increase their reimbursement rates, and to structure this in such a way that it would really benefit both Colorado families and the hospitals who serve their communities,” says Belzley, who adds that  since the provider fee was passed two years ago, it has helped more than 30,000 low-income Coloradans, and has generated hundreds of millions of dollars for the state in matching federal money. 

According to the Colorado Hospital Association, nearly a third of hospitals that lost money in 2009 actually made money in 2010 because of the fee.  But opponents of the provider fee – including Colorado Springs Republican Janak Joshi, who introduced House Bill 1025 to repeal it - say it amounts to a tax that wasn’t approved by voters. 

As host of KUNC's Colorado Edition, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. And because life is best when it's a balance of work and play, I love finding stories that highlight culture, music, the outdoors, and anything that makes Colorado such a great place to live.