Colorado state senator Kerry Donovan and representatives Julie McCluskie and Dylan Roberts held a town hall in Basalt on Saturday. The three Democrats, who represent the Roaring Fork Valley, started the meeting by discussing health care.
Saturday’s town hall was held one day after the first day for open enrollment in Colorado. Rep. McCluskie said that this past year saw a 30 percent decrease on the state’s individual insurance marketplace for Western slope residents.
Rep. Roberts has been working on a state option for health insurance, which he says would provide competition for private insurance, especially in rural areas that only have one private insurer.
"Look out for that state option. We'll be accepting public comment on it all this year," he said.
Senator Donovan said next steps in lowering costs might be health care co-ops as well as hospital transparency bills.
Senator Donovan said bills supporting mental health were gaining momentum at the capital, and mentioned the high suicide rate in Colorado’s high country.
"Something we are always talking about is that tragic epidemic that strikes us all, even in places you wouldn't expect it," she said.
The three elected officials also discussed water bills and legislation on wildfire mitigation and fielded questions about affordable housing, particularly for seniors.
About twenty residents attended the town hall. The next state legislative session begins in January.