Feb 222007
Authors: J. David McSwane

The Colorado Senate Education Committee passed a measure Thursday that would allow CSU to require graduate students to have health insurance.

House Bill 1026 passed out of the committee and is expected to be presented by its Senate sponsor, Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins, on the Senate floor sometime next week for a second reading. If the state Senate approves the bill, it will then need to be signed into law by Gov. Bill Ritter before it could affect CSU students.

CSU students Luke Ragland, a junior political science major, and Nathan Woltman, a graduate student and Associated Students of CSU senator, spoke Thursday before the committee in favor of the bill.

The bill, co-sponsored by Bacon and State Rep. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, will amend a current statute that prohibits the governing boards of institutions of higher education from requiring students to have health insurance by adding the term “undergraduate” to the provision.

Adding the specification of “undergraduate students” will permit CSU to require all graduate students to have some health plan, either with the university or from an outside provider.

The bill, Kefalas says, will allow for “greater flexibility” for CSU to pursue affordable health insurance for its students.

“CSU wanted to have the option,” Kefalas told the Collegian Thursday night. “The idea is that it would lower the costs of health care for students and the university, allowing more negotiating capacity for more affordable health insurance.”

Kefalas said he and Bacon sought to exclude graduate students from the current legislation rather than undergraduates because CSU officials worried that including the entire student body would be “too much of a leap.”

“This is good for students and the university,” Kefalas said.

Associate News Managing Editor J. David McSwane can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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