Last week, Governor Hickenlooper announced that Colorado will move forward with the Medicaid expansion called for under the Affordable Care Act. Family Voices Colorado joins The Colorado Health Foundation and other health care advocacy groups in applauding the decision to increase health care coverage for thousands of currently uninsured Coloradans.
Colorado has been actively preparing for Medicaid expansion since the Colorado Health Care Affordability Act (HB 09-1293) passed in 2009, with a Hospital Provider Fee contributing funds toward Medicaid and drawing down additional federal funding to support health care services for additional low-income populations. But last week’s announcement is the first official assurance that an additional 160,000 adults whose incomes are below 133% of the Federal Poverty Level (currently $14,856 for an individual or $30,657 for a family of four), will become eligible for Medicaid in 2014, since the Supreme Court ruled in June that the federal government could not compel states to expand their Medicaid programs. Eric Whitney summarizes the legislation and potential impact well in this article for Kaiser Health News; Jeff Bontrager and Megan Lane raise some additional questions in the Colorado Health Institute’s blog.
Family Voices Colorado believes that all people deserve access to quality health care. And although eligibility for health insurance (public or private) is not the same as access to care, lack of insurance coverage is often a primary barrier to accessing family-centered, comprehensive, coordinated care in a medical home. Therefore, we support this expansion of public health insurance coverage in our state, as an opportunity to improve health outcomes and opportunities to thrive for vulnerable Coloradans.
Family Voices staff work with many families who rely on Medicaid for health care coverage, whether solely for a child with a disability or for the entire family. If you have questions about whether your family may be eligible for Medicaid or CHP+, please call us at 303-733-3000 or 800-881-8272. And know that we will continue to speak up on behalf of children and youth with special health care needs and their families as health care reform is implemented.