Wednesday, February 13, 2008

House Passes Resolution Calling for all CO Children to Have Health Insurance Coverage by 2010

The House passed Wednesday a resolution establishing a goal of assuring access to health insurance coverage for all children in the state by 2010.

SJR 8, which had previously passed the Senate in slightly different form, is not law. It is simply an expression of the legislature's desire and of a goal.

Debate on the resolution was nevertheless lengthy and, at times, contentious.

Reps. Rosemary Marshall, D-Denver, and Kathleen Curry, D-Gunnison, eventually proposed an amendment changing the language of the resolution from words requiring the legislature to "pledge" universal coverage of children to the less demanding commitment only to try to do so.

That amendment passed with 51 "yes" votes, though it provoked opposition from a number of Democrats including speaker Andrew Romanoff, D-Denver, majority leader Alice Madden, D-Boulder, and Health & Human Services Committee chair Anne McGihon, D-Denver.

Rep. Douglas Bruce of Colorado Springs was the only GOP member of the House to oppose the amendment.

The amendment soothed the controversy, as 61 members of the House voted "yes" on adoption of the resolution after it was approved.

The naysayers were Republican Reps. Douglas Bruce and Kent Lambert of Colorado Springs and Kevin Lundberg of Berthoud.

The Senate had previously amended the resolution to make clear that the goal of universal coverage of children should not create disincentives for people to obtain private health insurance.

After that amendment was adopted unanimously in the Senate the resolution passed in that chamber on a 27-7 vote.

The Senate "no" votes on the resolution were cast by Republican Sens. Greg Brophy of Wray, Bill Cadman of Colorado Springs, Ted Harvey of Highlands Ranch, Mike Kopp of Littleton, Joshua Penry of Grand Junction, Scott Renfroe of Greeley and David Schultheis of Colorado Springs.