Democratic candidate for Colorado governor Cary Kennedy unveils public option health plan

DENVER – Cary Kennedy, one of a handful of Democrats vying for the nomination for Colorado’s governorship in 2018, on Tuesday unveiled a plan to bring a public option health care plan to Colorado in the vein of what Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., has floated for years.

Under her proposal, all Coloradans would be able to pay into the state’s Medicaid program, Health First Colorado, or the state employee health plan.

The ex-state treasurer said that once her plan theoretically goes into effect upon her victory, it would encourage market competition and reduce costs for Coloradans.

“Everyone in Colorado must be able to get the health care they need affordably. We can offer more choices, address the rural disparities in access and affordability, and lower costs,” said Kennedy in a statement. “That’s why today I am proposing giving everyone in Colorado the ability to buy into our public health insurance plans.”

Individual premiums in Colorado will go up 27 percent on average next year.

The proposal is similar to the one being pushed by Sen. Sanders, which a handful of Democrats have all-of-a-sudden signed on to support this week. Single-payer medical coverage, or “Medicare/Medicaid For All,” is thought to be one of the main focuses of the Democratic party over the next 4-6 years.

Sanders plans to unveil his latest version of the plan on Wednesday.

According to the Associated Press, which spoke to his aides, his bill would move Medicare coverage to cover all Americans’ health needs except for long-term nursing care.

At least 12 other Democratic senators have signed onto the plan, but Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., isn’t one of them.

There is also a similar bill in the House that has at least 117 cosponsors so far, including Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado, who is running against Kennedy in the primary.

But cost remains a concern for both sides, especially for Hill Republicans.

Sanders’ proposal during the campaign would have cost $1.4 trillion a year. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi didn’t endorse Sanders’ proposal on Tuesday when asked, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he was looking at “all” the proposals.

Read more details on Kennedy’s proposal here.

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