House Bill 18-1358 was introduced yesterday. It’s a minor miracle unto itself and I’m grateful for the leadership of Representatives Mike Foote and Susan Beckman, and Senators Kevin Lundberg and Irene Aguilar. The larger miracle will be seeing it passed. There is still plenty of time, but there are already indications of certain legislators preparing to drag their feet in the Senate. Complaining that there is not enough time to do justice to the bill is simply a tactic. The language of the bill has been floating around the Capitol and has been with key stakeholders such as the Colorado Hospital Association since December. I’ve personally sat through many meetings with Association representatives, lobbyists, hospital executives and others. There have been multiple rounds of feedback and many of the best ideas have already been incorporated and concerns assuaged. All that’s truly left are the formalities, but you should expect to hear otherwise. Delaying the introduction of the bill this long was always the strategy. The special interests thought they had killed it, but the courage of some legislators has shown them we can and will put up a fight.
Dragging their feet is the only tactful way to kill this bill, but it won’t fool anyone. That’s because the legislators who stand in opposition to it know that their constituents unanimously support it. Opposition comes from only one source: special interests that do not represent real people. No legislator wants to have to speak out about their opposition openly, because the public and the media has come to understand the issue much better during the past several months. Seeing through the façade is not difficult. Just as the healthcare industry has embraced the obfuscation of price information to protect obscene profits, the strategy to defeat this bill will be to conceal the true nature of opposition.
If ever there was a time to get involved, it’s now. That’s because the bill making it to the legislature is only one of the two big announcements this week. The second is that signature collection has begun on the ballot measure. Knowing that the ballot measure will pass in November is the best way to hold the legislature accountable for doing its job now, rather than leaving it to us to do it for them.
It’s going to be very important that I keep those who are supporting this effort and who believe in building a healthcare system we can #trust well informed. So if receiving these emails on almost a daily basis is too much for you, please simply opt out at the bottom. In the days to come, I’m going to offer instructions on how to contact your legislators, on understanding the details of the law and the nonsensical arguments you’ll hear against it. I’ll also be asking for your support with the signature campaign, whether you simply sign the petition yourself or volunteer to collect signatures from hundreds of friends and family.
There are trillions of dollars at stake, and thousands of dollars for every Coloradan. This legislation alone will drive the cost of healthcare down for you and your employer. The impact in Colorado alone will be larger than any tax cut we can imagine, and when it ripples across the country, it will put our entire healthcare system on an entirely new path.
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