Colorado Capitol Report

The Colorado Chamber Hosts Health Policy Experts for Discussion on Colorado’s Health System, Potential Changes Under New Administration

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State Policy News

CACI Hosts Health Policy Experts for Discussion on Colorado's Health System, Potential Changes Under New Administration

This Thursday, CACI hosted a strong lineup of national and state health policy experts to discuss the status of health reforms in Colorado, and the impacts that the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act in our state.  CACI’s Health Care Council members were also joined by numerous state senators and representatives for this event.  In light of Tuesday’s surprising national general election results that delivered victories to President-Elect Donald Trump and congressional Republicans that will hold majorities in both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate, panelists also began to contemplate what changes a new Republican administration and Congress could advance in 2017.

The event started with presentation focused on an overview of the key elements of the Affordable Care Act from Bob Ridgeway, the Senior Government Affairs Counsel for America’s Health Insurance Plans.  Bob also commented on some of the procedural avenues that may be available to congressional Republicans seeking to repeal all or some of the Affordable Care Act.  A full out repeal will likely be very challenging for congressional Republicans.  With only a 51 or 52 seat majority in the US Senate, Senate republicans alone will lack the 60 votes needed to advance and pass major legislative initiatives.  Furthermore, should efforts to repeal all of the Affordable Care Act, or significant parts of it, succeed, congressional Republicans and the Trump administration face the challenge of determining what policy initiatives and what type of health system would be advanced to replace repealed elements of the ACA.

To view Bob’s PowerPoint slide presentation, click here.

Amy Downs, Vice President of the Colorado Health Institute followed with a presentation regarding key health indicators and statistics regarding the status and impact of the Affordable Care Act’s Implementation in Colorado.  Due to the elections, Amy began her presentation with a quick overview of some of the key themes and specific policies that have dominated congressional Republican’s health policy agenda in the recent years that they have sought to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.  Regarding the ACA’s implementation in Colorado, Amy noted that its beyond question that “Colorado accomplished its coverage goals.”  Since the uninsured rate hit a recent peak of 15.8% in 2011, the implementation of the ACA has led to a sharp decline in the uninsured rate to 6.7% in 2015 or approximately 353,000 uninsured Coloradans.  Amy explained this is primarily due to the increase or expansion of Medicaid, one of the primary elements of the ACA implementation.

As this expansion played out, the private markets rebalanced some, as Medicaid surged from just over 9% of covered lives in Colorado in 2009 to about 20% of covered lives in 2015 and employer-sponsored coverage dropped from about 57.7% in 2009 to about 50.9% in 2015.

To view Amy’s PowerPoint slide presentation, click here.

Colorado Insurance Commissioner, Marguerite Salazar, followed with a presentation regarding the scope of the Colorado Division of Insurance’s role in regulating the health and health insurance industries in the state.  Commissioner Salazar spoke to some of the recent successes and challenges that Colorado has faced in implementing the ACA, as well as some of the efforts the Hickenlooper Administration has undertaken to address implementation challenges.  One key challenge has been the deep disparity in terms of health premium rates across Colorado’s nine geographic rating regions, as some of Colorado rural and mountain regions have experienced some of the most expensive health insurance premiums nationwide.  Commissioner Salazar referenced that the Lt. Governor, Donna Lynne, has initiated a Cost of Care Workgroup including legislators, health industry leaders, and other stakeholders to continue to discuss potential options for controlling costs within Colorado’s health care systems.

Finally, Dan O’Connell, CACI’s Director of Governmental Affairs, led a health policy panel discussion with representatives from three key CACI Health Care Council industries.  Participants included Bob Ridgeway from AHIP on behalf of the health insurance plans community, Bill Bishop Vice President with HCA-HealthOne on behalf of the hospital industry, and Jeff Woodhouse, Regional Director with PhRMA on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry.  Policy topics ranged from the potential impact that a Trump administration may bring for each of these three important health industries, to the impact that technology and wellness programs have had on the delivery of care and the types of care that are now being delivered across Colorado’s health systems.

For more information or questions regarding this event, please contact Dan O’Connell, CACI Director of Governmental Affairs, at [email protected] or 303-866-9622.

Sign Up Now to Sponsor a CACI Council Meeting

As the 2017 legislative session approaches, we want to invite you to once again participate in CACI’s Issue Councils.  CACI councils offer a unique opportunity for CACI members to add their expertise and judgment to our policy-making and influence legislation and regulations that impact business. Council meetings provide an open and frank dialogue between our members, key legislators and state agency leaders.  This is also your chance to attend council meetings that you have not attended in the past.  The following Councils are available to all CACI members:

  • Energy and Environment Council
  • HealthCare Council
  • Federal Affairs Council
  • Labor and Employment Council
  • Governmental Affairs Council
  • Tax Council

Each Council will meet at Noon at the CACI offices throughout the session.  Lunch is served at each meeting.  Sponsorship of council meetings by our members is crucial to maintaining the practice of providing lunch to each member during these important council meetings.  We need sponsors for every meeting in the coming year, so we would like to encourage members to sign up now to sponsor a lunch!  Sponsors receive recognition in both email reminders for the meeting and our online Events Calendar, as well as during the meeting itself.  CACI does all of the ordering and setup of the lunch and the sponsorship is always a flat rate of $600.  Please contact Laura Moss for more details or to sign up as a sponsor.  Again, sponsorship by our members is essential to providing our members with lunch during these meetings; we appreciate your ongoing support!

Please see below for specific dates for each council.  Councils always meet from Noon to 1:15 p.m. in the CACI Conference Room: 1600 Broadway, Suite 1000, Colorado State Bank Building.

CACI 2016-2017 Council Meeting Dates

Energy & Environment Council:Labor & Employment Council:
December 6thNovember 17th
January 24thJanuary 31st
February 9thFebruary 22nd
March 14thMarch 29th
April 13thApril 12th
Governmental Affairs Council:Tax Council:
February 7thDecember 2nd
February 21stJanuary 20th
March 7thFebruary 10th
March 21stMarch 10th
April 4thApril 6th
April 18th
May 2ndFederal Council:
November 15th
HealthCare Council:February 14th
January 19thApril 11th
February 16thJune 6th
March 23rdJuly 11th
April 19thOctober 3rd

To learn more about our councils, click here.

Thank you and please contact Laura Moss with any questions you may have!