FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 20, 2021
CONTACT: Kate Alfano, 512-788-0085
Denver, CO – The Colorado Medical Society (CMS) – the largest organization of physicians in Colorado, with over 7,000 members across all specialties, regions and practice settings – issued a statement following the Colorado Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing, where members voted on House Bill 21-1232, also known as the ‘Colorado Option’ plan.
The following statement is attributable to Dr. Sami Diab, president of CMS:
“We are disappointed that HB21-1232 passed out of the committee yesterday despite our repeated warnings about the negative impact this legislation will have on Colorado patients and physicians. Thank you to Senators Barbara Kirkmeyer, Jim Smallwood and Cleave Simpson for voting in favor of an amendment that would have removed the physician mandate from the bill. Unfortunately, that amendment was defeated by a 4-3 vote along party lines.
“Expanding access to quality and affordable health care is a top priority for Colorado physicians, but three out of four physicians oppose the Colorado Option for several reasons. This bill does not protect quality of care, does nothing to address the real drivers of the cost of health care and it violates the physician code of ethics set by the American Medical Association. In order to improve value in our health care system, we must take a thoughtful and collaborative approach to health care policies and legislation.
“HB21-1232’s mandatory participation requirement – which no other state has in place – will drive doctors out of the state, and it will become difficult to attract and recruit new doctors to come here to practice medicine. At a time when we need more doctors, our physician shortage will worsen – hurting those in our rural and underserved communities who already face significant obstacles in finding quality care. Mandating physicians to participate puts more power in the hands of health plans. We need to empower our patients and physicians, not health plans.
“We are committed to ensuring that all Coloradans have access to high quality, affordable health care, and we will not stop fighting for Colorado patients and physicians. We will continue to send our message to Coloradans and our lawmakers in Denver, so everyone understands the serious negative consequences that HB21-1232 will have on our health care system.”
The Colorado Medical Society champions health care issues that improve patient care, promote physician professional satisfaction and create healthier communities in Colorado. To learn more about CMS, visit www.cms.org.