Democrat State Senate President Morgan Carroll is preparing to kill, for the second time in her legislative career, a bill that would provide Coloradans greater choice and lower cost in health insurance. She has assigned to the so-called “Kill Committee” Senator Greg Brophy’s (R-Wray) bill that would permit out-of-state health insurance purchases for Colorado residents. The “Kill Committee” is the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee, which is stocked with reliable partisans of the majority party, who can be counted on to vote down unpopular legislation without its having to be assigned to a relevant committee of record.
Brophy’s stated hope is that somewhere, some insurance company will figure out how to offer an affordable plan, and that Coloradoans should be able to buy such a plan.
The idea has been offered before, both in Colorado and in other states, and it faces an uphill battle.
The National Conference of State Legislatures has compiled a list of similar state legislative efforts over the last few years, including some since Obamacare was passed. This bill most closely resembles a law passed in Georgia, which permits out-of-state insurers to issue policies in that state.
A similar bill, HB08-1327, was introduced in Colorado in the 2008 legislative session. It was killed in Business and Labor Affairs, with then-Representative, now-Senate President Morgan Carroll casting the deciding vote against. It would have permitted out-of-state insurers to sell here, regardless of whether they met the in-state licensing requirements. By contrast, SB14-040 would require out-of-state insurers to meet licensing requirements for doing business in Colorado. However, neither bill requires insurance policies to carry all of the individually mandated items that may raise the cost of health insurance here in Colorado by as much as 50%.
At the time, objections were raised that no interstate compact had been attempted; one wonders whether the Democrats will object to SB14-040 on the basis that interstate compacts are now explicitly permitted under Obamacare.
If so, Republicans can point to HB09-1256, and HB10-1163, both of which proposed Interstate Insurance Compacts, and both of which were killed in the Democrat-controlled legislature. The former was passed out of committee as a study, and killed in the House Appropriations Committee. The latter was permission to form an interstate compact, and was killed on a 7-4 party-line vote in the House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee, the House “Kill Committee.”