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  • Writer's pictureWE Care Coalition

In signing mental health bills, Polis reminds lawmakers about cost of mandates

Gov. Jared Polis signed a raft of mental health bills, but added a letter that made it clear he's tired of signing insurance coverage mandates while he's trying to pull down the cost.

He tacked a "signing statement" on House Bill 1276, legislation aimed at addressing the opioid crisis with new rules and expenses for insurers, including a cost-sharing benefit for a minimum number of physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic care and acupuncture visits, which cannot exceed the cost of a primary care visit.

"While I am signing HB21-1276 today, I want to reinforce my strong commitment to creating a uniform, evidence based process for adding any new health insurance mandates to Colorado law," Polis wrote. He has asked Democratic legislators for two sessions to stop trying to add to insurance bills with mandatory coverage. Last year, lawmakers passed a bill mandating coverage for infertility treatments.

He said he was approving the bill because of other savings on health care the legislature had passed during the session.

"I am proud of what we have done together and also mindful that we cannot give with one hand and take away with the other," Polis wrote in his signing statement. "Mandates have the potential to add extraordinary value to the consumer. They also have the potential to put insurance and its benefits out of reach for the very people who need that coverage."

The bill was sponsored by Democratic Reps. Chris Kennedy of Lakewood and Leslie Herod of Denver, with Democratic Sen. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood and Republican Sen. Kevin Priola of Henderson.

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