Colorado Capitol Report

Fate of Public Option Bill Uncertain as it Heads to Senate Floor

Fate of Public Option Bill Uncertain as it Heads to Senate Floor

The controversial public option proposal, HB 1232, passed the Senate Appropriations Committee this morning in a 4-3 vote, but key legislators have expressed hesitation over the proposal as it moves to the Senate Floor.

The bill was heard in the Senate Health & Human Services committee earlier this week, and three out of the four Democrats on the committee have serious concerns about the legislation.

The primary concerns lawmakers have about the bill are its rate setting, the arbitrary requirement for insurers to lower premiums by 18%, the exorbitant fees on providers and hospitals for not complying, and increased costs on employer-sponsored insurance to cover the lower premiums in the state-sponsored plan.

Using the Colorado Chamber’s grassroots tools, the business community sent over 77 emails to members of the Health & Human Services committee over the past week, warning that the bill would do more to shift costs in the health care sector than reduce them. Senators Fields, Ginal, and Buckner have reservations about HB 1232 as it makes its way to the full Senate.

The bill is expected to be heard on the Senate Floor on Tuesday, May 25th. You can help keep up the momentum against the bill by emailing your Senator and asking them to oppose the bill. Click here to easily send a personal message to your Senator in a few easy steps.

For additional reading on the bill, see the latest story from CBS News Denver.

Governor Announces Incentive Program for Individuals Claiming Unemployment Benefits to Return to Work!

Governor Polis and the CO Department of Labor & Employment announced a program to encourage and incentivize those currently claiming unemployment insurance benefits to return to work.  To be eligible for an incentive, Colorado’s unemployed workers must have received at least one week of unemployment benefits of $25 or more between March 28, 2021 and May 16, 2021 and have verified their identities. Based on the requirements in the Executive Order, workers must be employed full-time for at least eight weeks to receive the full incentive. The incentive payments are expected to be issued during July and August of 2021 and will be distributed in two installments. Claimants will become eligible for the first half of the incentive after approximately four weeks of full time employment, and will become eligible for the remaining half after approximately eight weeks.

Specific Directives Outlined in Executive Order

  1. Individuals whose first week of full employment is between May 16, 2021 and May 29, 2021 will be eligible for total compensation up to one thousand six hundred dollars ($1600).
  2. Individuals whose first full week of employment is May 30, 2021 through June 26, 2021 will be eligible for total compensation up to one thousand two hundred dollars ($1200).
  3. The payments will be split in half, with fifty (50) percent being distributed after four (4) weeks of employment, and the remaining fifty (50) percent after eight (8) weeks of employment. The total paid to any eligible individual shall not exceed the amounts set above. If an individual returns to unemployment at any time during the eight (8) week period, they will have forfeited the remainder of their payment.

A copy of the Executive Order with the complete details of the “Jumpstart Program” can be found here.

The Colorado Department of Labor & Employment has stated publicly that the State will not be rejecting the additional $300 in federal unemployment insurance benefits that can be claimed by individuals in Colorado until September 2021. As of today, 21 states have rejected the $300 in additional federal UI benefits.

Informational links on the Jumpstart Program:

  1. Employer FAQs
  2. Colorado Jumpstart Factsheet
  3. Colorado Jumpstart Messaging