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Bill Gives Colorado Health Exchange a Head Start

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A proposed health care exchange that aims to lower health insurance costs in Colorado is getting a boost at the state capitol, as Democrats and Republicans say they’ve agreed on creating one. 

Supporters of health insurance exchanges say because they allow people to easily compare options and costs for different policies, they are one of the most effective tools for reining in costs.  Now a bipartisan bill to set up a statewide exchange for Colorado has been introduced in the state Senate. 

Senate Bill 200 creates a legislative oversight committee and a nine-member governing board, which will include representatives from the health care field and the insurance industry.  Colorado’s exchange would operate independently from other state agencies.

Health exchanges are a key component of last year’s federal health care overhaul, which faces an uncertain future.  Opponents of the healthcare law who say it’s too intrusive and too costly have vowed to repeal it.  Colorado is one of roughly two dozen states suing to block part of the healthcare law.  This legislation lays the framework for Colorado to have its own exchange regardless of what happens at the national level.  The bill has been assigned to the Health and Human Services committee, which is expected to advance it.

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.