Where do we stand today on the Hospital Provider charge lawsuit?
There has been a flurry of activity. The original lawsuit (“Complaint”) languished in the Court without resolution for more than 18 months. Then, late in the session the legislature passed the infamous SB267, which among other steps, increased future state taxes up to $400 million per year without voter approval, and moved the Hospital Provider Fund off the books and supposedly redefined that welfare program as a government business.
The TABOR Foundation’s attorneys at Mountain States filed an amended Complaint to address the additional unconstitutional provisions of SB267. More recently Mountain States met the deadlines imposed by the Court for any further amendments. The revised Complaint (attached here) broadens the parties with standing to include individuals who paid the Hospital Provider charge, Rebecca Sopkin and Scott Rankin, and added the Colorado Union of Taxpayers; a change that the Board approved earlier this year. There was some refinement of the arguments.
Some uncertainty exists about how the lawsuit will proceed. There is a Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss that will probably be addressed in January. However, the Court has allowed the lawsuit to proceed, so Steve Lechner will simultaneously be preparing the case for the June Hearing. Motions for discovery were issued timely and Defendants’ (now both the State and the Hospital Association) information will be gathered.
Stay tuned; this lawsuit is now moving along quickly.
Penn R. Pfiffner