Q&A: Billy Wynne talks examining public option in Washington, Colorado

Billy Wynne, the founder of Wynne Health Group consulting firm, created the Public Option Institute to study the implementation of public insurance options in Washington and Colorado. Wynne established himself as a presence in the public option debate with two series in Health Affairs after Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act failed. The new institute is formed with funding from the billionaire couple John and Laura Arnold, who have taken an interest in advancing policy to lower healthcare costs. Wynne is based in Denver and has advised on Colorado’s public option plan in a personal capacity, separate from his work with the institute.

Modern Healthcare’s political reporter, Rachel Cohrs, sat down with Wynne to discuss the public option debate.

MH: Can you tell me how this partnership with Arnold Ventures to form the Public Option Institute came about?

Wynne: I wanted to pay very close attention to and parse out the real issues involved in states implementing these types of programs and begin to consider what federal options there would be to support programs like this, if you had an administration that was so inclined. I started a framework that was called Medicare Direct, for a federal waiver to support and facilitate states and moving forward with public option programs that the states themselves design. That to some degree built my interest, and my presence in the debate around these issues. It was about that time that the second Health Affairs series was being published that I approached Arnold Ventures to seek out a grant to try to really take a deeper dive into what especially Colorado and Washington are doing, with the goal of being an informative and evidence-based resource for this debate and for policymakers.

Read the full article here.