Billy Wynne

Billy Wynne

As Colorado wades into the murky waters of creating a public option insurance program, a Washington, D.C., health care advisory firm with a leader who lives in Denver has an online tool for tracking bills and issues.

The Public Option Institute launched Tuesday, examining programs in the works in Colorado and Washington state.

The tool is the work of Wynne Health, with a grant from Arnold Ventures, the problem-solving philanthropic foundation. 

The site delivers a trove: summaries of the two states’ legislation, regulations, timelines, stakeholders' comments, local news and national analysis, as well as side-by-side comparisons of the two programs and commentary via Twitter.

Billy Wynne is the executive director of the Public Option Institute and the chairman of Wynne Health Group, the  consulting firm that works on strategy and advocacy with health care organizations.

A former health policy counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, he drafted and negotiated health care laws. His work included the early research, discussions and hearings on the Affordable Care Act.

He and his family live in Denver.

Wynne said that starting in 2017, as Republicans' "repeal and replace" fervor subsided, he saw Medicare for All and public option proposals rising along a similar trajectory.

"There was considerable hype and brand appeal, but not a lot of concrete analysis or contemplation of the numerous complexities embedded in these concepts,” he said in an email exchange. “My colleagues and I at Wynne Health are deeply grateful to Arnold Ventures for the opportunity to really dig in to the public option debate, with the goal of providing clarity and, when available, evidence to inform how these programs take shape.”

Wynne said the trend toward public options is still in the "relatively primordial phase."

"Washington state and Colorado are on paths to implementing public option programs, and several others are studying the potential this approach may hold for them," he said. "By cataloguing, analyzing and comparing the decisions that the forerunner states are making, which invariably include consideration of their respective political climates, we aim to be a resource for policymakers and the broader public on these issues.”

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