This is a challenging time for our country with a great deal of uncertainty about the future of federal policy, but here in Colorado we must keep moving forward. Our economy is booming, but our rapid growth and high cost of living are making it difficult for hard-working, middle class families to stay afloat. This last session I worked to reduce health insurance premiums, increase funding for our school districts, expand affordable housing, establish protections for property renters, and require cost transparency for hospitals and pharmaceutical companies. While partisan politics killed some of these bills, we still secured $635 million for transportation projects over the next two years, expanded the Child Care Contribution Tax Credit and continued it for another five years, and passed a budget with the biggest education investment in our state’s history.
When elected for another term as your State Representative, I will continue the fight to make sure every Coloradan who works hard and does their fair share has every opportunity to succeed and build a great life here.
Affordable Health Care
Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, we’ve made great progress on expanding access to health care. Now it’s time to get serious about controlling costs. In June 2017, the Colorado Commission on Affordable Health Care concluded three years of work and issued its final report on what’s been driving the cost increases. Unfortunately, part of their conclusion was that we don’t have enough data to really know. That’s why my #1 priority has been to increase transparency in health care spending. I have sponsored a bill both sessions to require our hospitals to submit more data to the state so we can analyze both price and utilization trends and identify changes to reduce costs. Partisan politics and special interest opposition groups killed both bills, but I will continue to bring this legislation forward as we will be unable to address the rising costs of health care without the necessary insight into hospitals’ spending.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen free-standing emergency departments spring up all over the Denver metro area. Sure, these facilities increase access to emergency services, but at what cost? Consumers are often faced with surprise out-of-network bills and the high operational costs are passed along to the rest of us in our increased premiums and deductibles. I worked with a bipartisan group of legislators on a trio of bills, and we passed two that provide clear cost disclosures to patients and better track expenses. Going forward, as more facilities continue to open throughout Colorado we need to create a more appropriate license type that comes with more appropriate regulations for these facilities.
Growth. It’s happening, and it’s our job to make sure it happens responsibly. That means investing in transportation infrastructure and protecting our open spaces and public lands. Most of all, it means incentivizing and requiring the inclusion of a significant number of affordable units in new construction projects. We must also improve renters’ rights, and I plan to continue to fight to limit rental application fees to the actual costs so that landlords aren’t profiting by taking applications for units they never intend to lease.
Last but not least, we need to be taking a hard look at various senior tax exemptions and credits and exploring ways to reform them to give more support to seniors who own or rent so they can stay in their homes.
What are your priorities? Please contact me to let me know.
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