CO Puts Off Health Care Bill

February 24, 2006 ( - A Colorado House of Representatives committee essentially killed a bill that would have required large employers to spend a certain amount on health care for employees.

The Denver Business Journal reports that the proposal would have affected employers with at least 3,500 workers and had been dubbed by many as the “Wal-Mart bill.”

State representative Judy Solano (D) said the bill is needed because the number of uninsured workers continues to grow and the state Medicaid program is growing at an unsustainable rate, according to the news report. However, the House Health and Human Services Committee essentially killed the bill, laying it over until after the legislative session ends.

Groups including the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry (CACI) and the National Federation of Independent Business had testified against the proposal earlier this month, saying it would drive up the cost of doing business and make Colorado businesses less competitive.   Chuck Berry, president and CEO of CACI, said he believes that all of the companies in Colorado with more than 3,500 workers already offer health insurance.

House Minority Leader Representative Joe Stengel, (R), said Democrats had introduced the union-backed legislation but never intended to pass it because it was opposed by the business community.   “This was their flagship bill,” he said. “They are pandering to their base … which costs the taxpayer money and wastes time.”

Some 30 states are currently considering such health care legislation (See  Kentucky Moves Closer To Adopting ‘Wal-Mart Bill’).