CMS collaborated with the House of Medicine to send this letter to Gov. Jared Polis addressing his decision to veto HB20-1085. HB20-1085 sought to make alternative pain therapies available to patients at the same level that their insurance carriers covered opioids. The governor’s decision to veto the bill stemmed from a concern about increasing insurance premiums. In an April letter to lawmakers, he committed to not sign legislation that contained insurance mandates in light of the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic unless they provided immediate relief for Coloradans. In his comments as he vetoed the bill, Gov. Polis did commit to making actuarial analyses of similar bills with insurance mandates common practice, in order to have more information about the overall impacts on health care affordability. He also praised sponsors Rep. Kennedy and Sen. Winter for their tireless work on HB20-1085.

The House of Medicine expressed our disappointment at his decision to veto the bill and our commitment to finding solutions to prevent future substance use disorders through the prescribing of alternative pain therapies clinically proven to be as effective as opioids. We reiterated the history of physicians working to reform problematic systems that perpetuate addiction, while pointing out that health plans have repeatedly fought to maintain the current status quo. Finally, we reiterated our commitment to collaboration on this issue with the Polis Administration.

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