Health Care Costs

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Molly Adams (flickr)

DENVER -- New research from the Economic Policy Institute shows that switching to a single-payer health system would boost the overall economy, make it easier for workers to switch jobs or start businesses, and create a net surplus of new jobs.

As Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic lawmakers wage a war with hospitals over the rising cost of health care in Colorado, many residents like Jamie Harrison are still stuck paying high premiums on the West Slope.

"I think paying $1,700 a month for an insurance policy I don't use is not sustainable," Harrison said last week after finishing a day of skiing in Beaver Creek. "Something has got to give."

One rural community in Colorado was so frustrated with high health insurance costs and government inaction that a few years ago, residents took matters into their own hands.

And their plan worked.

Locals in Summit County found a way around traditional insurance processes to lower local health care costs and save consumers an average of 20 percent on their monthly premiums.

Mark Duggan

Colorado lawmakers are working on a bipartisan set of proposals that would seek to lower insurance premiums and the costs of prescription drugs. According to Gov. Jared Polis, it will bring particular relief to rural and mountain areas, where health care costs are some of the highest in the nation.

Health care is emerging as a top priority for both Democratic and Republicans at the State Capitol this session, and some of the proposed legislation is already packing hearing rooms.

One of the bills would add autism to a list of conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana. Similar legislation was vetoed by former Gov. John Hickenlooper last year.


The Glenwood Springs Post Independent recently published High Country, High Costs, a 6-part series on health care costs in Colorado’s resort counties. For this week’s News Brief, KDNK’s Amy Hadden Marsh talks to Randy Essex, the paper’s editor and publisher, about some of the issues behind the costs. The series is available here.