Families all over the state have been impacted by sky high health care costs, and to make matters worse, large corporate hospitals have been piling on more hidden costs into medical bills. Luckily, state lawmakers have taken notice and have taken the first steps to save families money on health care and protect hardworking families from unexpected charges imposed by large hospital systems. 

Gov. Jared Polis and state lawmakers listened to working families by making HB23-1215 law and starting to limit these hidden costs. Thanks to this bill becoming law, our state has taken a significant step towards alleviating the financial hardships faced by countless Coloradans seeking necessary medical care.

Left unchecked, hospital systems often leave patients grappling with the weight of astronomical bills, causing stress, anxiety, and, in some cases, even financial ruin. This law represents a critical milestone in addressing this issue head-on, safeguarding the well-being of our community and ensuring that no one is forced to choose between their health and financial stability.

My family experienced panic when we received our first hidden “facility fee” when we took our son to urgent care after he broke his arm. They took x-rays, splinted his arm, and told us to see an orthopedist the following day since none were open. We did as we were told and made an appointment with an orthopedist the next day. Going into the appointment, I knew what it was going to cost me out-of-pocket to see a specialist. We walked in, went up to the orthopedist’s floor, paid our copay at the counter as expected, and my son was seen by the doctor. They looked at the x-rays from the urgent care and casted his arm. It was a simple, straightforward appointment–and we received excellent care. 

Weeks later, despite already paying our copay, we received two bills: one from the doctor through CU Medicine, and one for an “outpatient hospital visit” facility fee from Children’s Hospital. We did not go to a hospital once during this experience. We went to urgent care, and then we went to an orthopedic doctor. I was shocked and frustrated.

Had we known about the facility fee before making the appointment, we could have chosen a different location. In the end, I called enough times and talked to enough people that they dropped the facility fee so I would leave them alone – but I still had to pay the doctor and the copay. No one should have to spend hours of their time calling different offices and people, writing letters, or turning to the local news to have a surprise, egregious, out-of-pocket bill addressed. I had the time and resources to do this, but many families don’t. Being a parent is hard enough.

By advocating for limitations and transparency on hospital facility fees, lawmakers have not only acted as a voice for the people but also championed the fundamental principle that access to quality health care should not be a luxury reserved for the privileged few. Their commitment to this cause demonstrates their understanding of the challenges faced by ordinary citizens and determination to create positive change in our healthcare system.

I firmly believe that this law will have a far-reaching impact on our state’s health care landscape. It will not only help individuals in need but also promote a more equitable and compassionate health care system.

Thank you to our state leaders for standing up for the people and advocating for healthcare affordability. Their support  to limit hospital facility fees is a testament to their leadership, empathy, and dedication to public service. I am proud to have Polis, my state lawmakers state Sen. Janet Buckner and state Rep. Iman Jodeh, and so many of our leaders in Colorado working towards a healthier and more just society.

Matthew Burin, via letters@sentinelcolorado.com

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