DENVER (CBS4)– Gov. Jared Polis’ State of the State this year featured a single dad in Summit County. Polis introduced Glenn Brady and his three daughters to illustrate the state of the state’s health care system.
In 2018, Brady’s wife Kelly died of cancer, leaving behind three girls and a $500,000 in medical debt, despite health insurance that Brady says cost $30,000 a year.
“Where I grew up in Appalachian, Pennsylvania there are homes that people live in that I went to high school with that still cost that much,” said Brady.
Brady wasn’t sure how he would pay the bills let alone keep a promise he’d made to his wife that included braces for their daughters.
About the same time, Polis was pushing a reinsurance bill – now law – that helps insurers with high cost claims so they can reduce premiums for everyone. Meanwhile, in Summit County, employers had banded together to form the Peak Health Alliance and negotiate prices directly with doctors and hospitals.
Watch the complete speech in the video clip below:
Brady says the two programs together reduced his premiums by $10,000.
“It was probably the biggest, most impactful, immediate savings anyone had ever offered me in my life. What’s funny about it is, I thought in my head that’s almost $10,000 and, that same month I was told their braces were going to be $10,000,” said Brady.
He made good on his promise to his wife. And Polis made good on his promise to Coloradans, “To me saving people money on health care wasn’t not just a policy goal, it’s really a reason I ran for governor. I knew the pain so many Colorado families feel and we wanted to do something about it. We didn’t solve everything by any means but we made some great progress. It made a real difference.”
The Governor asked the Colorado Legislature for an additional $18 million for the reinsurance program in his State of the State. He also wants to expand the program in Summit County, and now seven other counties, to other parts of the state.
His big push this year is a bill that creates a public health insurance option.