Colorado Senate advances public option health insurance bill

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DENVER (AP) - Colorado's Senate has tentatively endorsed a bill to create a state-run health insurance plan.

The bill would direct state agencies to recommend a plan that would compete with private and already-existing public health care exchange insurance to drive down premiums.

The Senate approved the bill by voice vote on Tuesday. Another vote sends the bill to the governor.

Backers say it's designed to curb some of the nation's highest insurance premiums in mountain and other rural areas. A state-run "public option" could be operating by 2021.

Opponents question the wisdom of having the state step in as a health insurance competitor.

They note that high rural premiums persist under the state health insurance exchange.