Healthcare and medical business concept

A public-insurance option could cost thousands of Colorado health care workers their jobs and harm the state's economy, a study by a business-affiliated group says.

A bill passed by the state legislature in May required Colorado health care officials to create a proposal for such an option which could be implemented as early as next year.

The impact on the private health insurance market would ultimately harm Colorado's economy, according to a study by the REMI Partnership released Wednesday.

The partnership includes Colorado Concern, the Colorado Association of Realtors, the Colorado Bankers Association, the Denver South Economic Development Partnership and the Common Sense Policy Roundtable.

The report estimates that the state's individual health insurance market would lose 80% to 100% of its membership and 1,500 to 4,500 health care workers in Colorado could lose their jobs.

Further, if the state option reduces provider reimbursement in order to decrease premiums, employers who provide insurance might be burdened by a 5% costs increase. That could result in the loss of between 2,900 and 8,320 jobs and $320 to $919 million in gross domestic product, according to the study.

The report concludes that lawmakers in Colorado should "think carefully" before adopting a public option.

"Expanding health care coverage and access to affordable and high-quality care is a goal broadly shared across Colorado," says the report. "However, as policymakers and stakeholders strive to reach that goal, there is a real danger well-intentioned proposals could cause more harm than good."

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