New estimates show 23 million could lose health insurance under AHCA

AHCAChildren, elders and people with disabilities would be among the first to lose coverage under a health insurance proposal passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month, according to an updated analysis this week from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that predicted the costs and impacts of the bill. The U.S. House passed the bill before receiving an updated analysis from the CBO on the impact of the bill on federal spending and the uninsured rate.

The updated analysis out from the CBO this week estimates that as many as 23 million people will lose coverage under the proposal passed by the U.S. House over the next decade and many more—especially seniors—would see their premiums increase. The bill is estimated to reduce federal spending on Medicaid by over $800 billion. It is estimated to reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion. The reduction in federal Medicaid spending is due to changes in the bill to the structure of Medicaid, including a cap on the entire Medicaid program and phasing out the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

If Congress moves forward with the current proposal, which would shift costs and risk to states, Colorado lawmakers would be left with troubling choices about eliminating access to health coverage and benefits for children and families and the state budget. We call on the U.S. Senate to stand up for children and their families. By protecting the significant gains that have been made in health insurance coverage for children and families, the U.S. Senate has an opportunity to continue to improve the health care system and maintain the health coverage and comprehensive benefits that are critical for children’s healthy development.

Posted in Child Health, KidsFlash |


The President’s budget proposal threatens the well-being of Colorado’s children

President Trump released his blueprint for the federal budget this week, and it holds bad news for kids. The President’s budget proposal marks the first step in a long federal budget process in Congress. His proposal, if enacted, would have a significant negative impact on Colorado’s kids and families. It would slash commitments to children instead of recommending new and sustained investments in their health, nutrition and education. The consequences of these proposals would be cumulative, because many children will suffer several reductions in services. Moreover, the cuts in the proposed budget will permanently affect kids’ healthy development. Even if funding is restored in years to come, introducing new barriers to health, education and happiness will have a long-lasting impact on an entire generation.

The budget proposal includes deep cuts in Medicaid funding, jeopardizing health insurance and access to medical care for the nearly 590,000 Colorado kids under age 18 who were covered by Medicaid at some point in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The budget proposal assumes these cuts would be in addition to the $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid in the bill the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed that also repeals the Affordable Care Act.

The budget proposal also cuts funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP, or Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) in Colorado) by 20 percent. More than 87,000 kids in Colorado were enrolled in CHP+ at some point in the 2015-16 fiscal year. CHIP helps cover kids and pregnant women from moderate-income families and is a critical source of health coverage for families in Colorado. It has worked together with Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act to help decrease the number of Colorado kids without health insurance to 4.2 percent in 2015.

Children enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP are significantly less likely to have unmet or delayed needs for medical care, dental care, and prescription drugs due to costs compared to low-income uninsured children. Children covered by Medicaid are less likely to drop out of high school, more likely than children who remain uninsured to graduate from college, and be healthier and earn more as adults.

The President’s proposal would cut funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly food stamps) by about a quarter. It would also shift a significant portion of the costs of the program to states, which could result in fewer kids receiving SNAP benefits and in reducing the already modest amount of SNAP benefits that Colorado families receive (about $1.42 per person per meal in 2016). Children whose families benefit from SNAP are more likely to be in good health, develop normally for their age, avoid hospitalization, do better in school, and graduate from high school.

The President’s budget proposal also would prepare fewer children for kindergarten, eliminate programs that help them do better in school, and make it harder for them to go to college. The proposal would fund the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) only at fiscal year 2016 levels and would not include the increase for fiscal year 2017. CCDBG funding helps ensure that more kids in Colorado have access to quality early learning opportunities.

The budget proposal also includes a 13 percent (upwards of $9.2 billion) cut in funding for the Education Department – the largest single-year cut that a president has proposed to the discretionary budget since President Reagan in 1983. It would eliminate or significantly reduce more than 30 programs that are critical to student success, including after-school enrichment and $2.1 billion in spending on teacher development. It would make it even harder for middle class and low-income students to go to college, because it reduces funding for work-study programs by two-thirds. It also eliminates the federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) program, which helps particularly low-income students attend college, as well as a program that provides college loan forgiveness to people working in public service, including teachers.

An additional $1 billion is proposed for “Title I portability,” where funds would be earmarked as grants designed to promote public schools choice, instead of going out by traditional formulas to school districts, This proposal would undermine the purpose of Title I by shifting money away from the highest-need schools and students.

In addition, the President’s budget proposal would cut other funds that Colorado relies on, such as support for highway maintenance and other transportation. It also shifts significant costs to states, which will present Colorado policy makers with tough choices about the resources in the state’s already constrained budget. While this proposed budget is just a blueprint, and will likely undergo significant changes as it moves through the process, we call on Congress to shift the priorities put forward by the administration and protect the well-being of Colorado kids and families who rely on these critical programs.

Posted in Child Health, Early Childhood, Fiscal, K-12 Education, KidsFlash |


Elevating Equity: Notes from the 2017 KIDS COUNT in Colorado! report

chalkbabyWe all want our kids to inherit a bright and vibrant future. Each of us strives to create a world for our children in which there is nothing stopping them for achieving their highest dreams. We work toward a future in which our kids are healthy, happy and engaged in their communities and the world around them. We work for a future in which our kids can grow up to do anything they put their minds to, whether it’s traveling the world, starting a small business in their hometown or becoming a teacher. Whether our family members have been here for generations or whether we’re brand new Coloradans, we all hope to leave our children a better world that the one we inherited. Read more from the introduction to 2017 KIDS COUNT in Colorado! on our website.

Posted in KidsFlash, Research |


Health Insurance Coverage Improves Child Well-Being

Increasing health insurance coverage to children increases positive outcomes, according to a new report from Child Trends, a nonprofit research organization focused on improving the lives and prospects of children, youth and their families.

According to the report, when children have health insurance, they are more likely than uninsured children to be healthy and are more likely to have improved outcomes related to education and economic security. The report also highlights how federal and state policies contributed to expanding health insurance coverage for kids where the coverage rate for U.S children was 95 percent in 2015, an all-time high. Read about the Colorado Children’s Campaign’s efforts to cover all Colorado kids here.

Posted in Child Health, KidsFlash |


Get to know us: Cliff Clusin, Finance Director

cliffAs the Finance Director, Cliff is responsible for all financial aspects of the Children’s Campaign, and general administrative support. Cliff spent his formative years in the Midwest (Chicago and Minneapolis). A job transfer with Kinko’s Copies brought him to Colorado in 1989. Before joining the Children’s Campaign, Cliff worked as the Finance Director for six other non-profits in Boulder and Denver. His interests outside of work include anything related to the natural world, to social justice and to meditation. He likes to spend time with his two children and two grandchildren who live in Boulder. Click here to read more about Cliff’s greatest extravagance and other fun facts.

Posted in KidsFlash, Outreach |


Fast Fact- May 26, 2017

On average, between 2011 and 2014, only 51 percent of all 3- and 4-year-olds were enrolled in any type of preschool. Preschool enrollment ranged from 10 percent of 3- and 4-year-olds in Dolores County to 100 percent of children in this age group in Hinsdale County. To find preschool enrollment data for your county, please visit the KIDS COUNT Data Center.

Posted in Fast Facts, KidsFlash |


Capitol Update: Wins and misses on behalf of kids at the Colorado State Capitol

The Colorado General Assembly wrapped up its 2017 Regular Session last week and we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of legislative wins and misses on behalf of Colorado kids. Click here to read our 2017 Legislative Impacts for a concise summary of new laws affecting kids.

Yesterday, Gov. John Hickenlooper was joined by champions for reducing early childhood discipline disparities for the signing of HB 17-1211. Sponsored by Rep. James Coleman and Sen. Kevin Priola, the bipartisan law sets up a grant program for schools to implement professional development strategies to promote alternatives to early childhood suspension and expulsion from preschool through third grade. The program must still be funded through gifts, grants or donations.

hb1211

Posted in Early Childhood, KidsFlash |


Grave impact of federal health care policy decisions on children comes into focus

Following the passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month, the U.S. Senate is now in the process of bringing its version of a proposal to a vote in the Senate. The provisions of the House bill would have devastating impacts on health insurance coverage and access to care for Colorado kids.

Approximately half of all kids in Colorado are covered by Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP, known as Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) in Colorado), for at least part of the year. Medicaid covers the vast majority of kids covered by these two programs—and it covers both those whose families have the lowest incomes, and those with the greatest health care needs. Its financing structure also allows the program to expand coverage quickly in the event of a natural disaster or economic recession. The bill passed by the House would cut $800 billion in federal funding for Medicaid and cap the entire Medicaid program, shifting costs to states. There is no way to impose these cuts on the Medicaid program without impacting coverage for kids in Colorado who need it most.

CHP+ is a critical source of health coverage for kids whose families earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private health insurance and it has worked together with Medicaid to help Colorado’s percent of uninsured kids decline to 4.2 percent in 2015. Federal funding for CHP+ runs out on Sept. 30 and Congress has yet to act to extend it.

Colorado’s significant progress in reducing the uninsured rate for kids is under threat, from the passage of the AHCA in the House, the proposed cuts to Medicaid, and the looming end of financing for CHP+.

In the past week, several national newspapers have written about the significant hit to children’s coverage that would come if the AHCA were to pass and if financing for CHIP is not extended. The long-term consequences of adding barriers to health for kids in poverty are significant. Read more in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and The Atlantic.

Posted in Child Health, KidsFlash, Legislative |


Bill Jaeger named to Aspen Institute fellowship

The Aspen Institute this week announced that Bill Jaeger, our Vice President of Early Childhood Education Initiatives, will be among 20 Colorado leaders to join the inaugural class of the Colorado Children and Families Health and Human Services Fellowship. The Fellowship invests in visionary leaders committed to making Colorado the best place to have a child and sustain a healthy, thriving family.

The Colorado Children and Families Fellowship builds on the best of the Aspen Institute’s leadership tradition. Fellows work with other leaders; participate in convenings and platforms; tap powerful networks of social justice; and carry out action plans that advance their work on behalf of children and families. The Fellowship is made possible through the generous support of the Ben and Lucy Ana Fund of the Walton Family Foundation. Read more about the fellowship and the other leaders in the first class.

Posted in KidsFlash, Outreach |


Children and civil rights advocates object to proposed removal of survey item in national survey of children’s health

We’ve joined a coalition of advocates objecting to a survey change that could make it harder to gather data related to school discipline in the early childhood years. Last week, the Colorado Children’s Campaign joined advocates who are concerned about the removal of a survey item on the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH), which assesses incidences of preschools suspensions and expulsions for children birth to age 5.

The survey, collected once every four years, provides important information about children’s health and well-being. The National Black Child Development Institute, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Center for Law and Social Policy, and the National Women’s Law Center worked together on a coordinated response to raise concerns about the removal of this question.

NSCH assesses a variety of topics ranging from access and use of health care services to early childhood information. The survey estimates national and state-level prevalence for a variety of physical, emotional, and behavioral child health indicators within the context of the child’s family neighborhood environment. Additionally, this data generates information that helps guide the work of policymakers, advocates and researchers.

The removal of the survey item regarding suspensions and expulsions of young children would mean the loss of valuable data that illuminates the important role of parents in addressing this critical issue. Bill Jaeger, our Vice President of Early Childhood Initiatives, submitted comments to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget to express the necessity of the inclusion of the data collection. Read his letter to Dominic Mancini here.

Posted in K-12 Education, KidsFlash |


 

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