Colorado moves to start implementing health reform

Gov. Ritter signed into law four bills aimed at facilitating federal health reform policies and announced two key health care appointments.

By Chris Silva — Posted May 6, 2010

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Although national health system reform will be implemented over the next five years, Colorado is getting a jump on the effort.

Gov. Bill Ritter announced April 20 that he signed into law four bills intended to enhance the state's role in health reform. He also issued an executive order naming a director of implementation and creating a new interagency reform task force.

"Colorado has never waited for Washington on health care reform, and we aren't about to start waiting now," Ritter said. "National reform allows us to accelerate and build on our work to provide higher quality care at lower costs to more Coloradans."

The new laws include:

  • An explanation-of-benefits measure aimed at protecting consumers and helping them better understand their insurance coverage by standardizing policy forms.
  • A plain-language bill requiring health and auto policies to be written in uncomplicated language at consumer-friendly reading levels.
  • A Colorado Health Services Corps bill seeking to improve existing public and private loan repayment programs for primary health care professionals who practice in rural and underserved communities.
  • A nurse education measure aimed at improving the state's existing nurse loan forgiveness program by extending its current eligibility requirements.

Ritter's executive order named Lorez Meinhold, the governor's health care policy expert, as director of national reform implementation for Colorado. It also established a new interagency implementation board to be chaired by Joan Henneberry, executive director of the Colorado Dept. of Health Care Policy and Financing.

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