Fast Fact- August 04, 2017

In 2016, 44 percent of all Colorado fourth grade students met or exceeded grade-level expectations on the English Language Arts portion of the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS). Fourth grade marks the point where students shift from learning how to read to employing those reading skills to grasp other subjects. When children are not reading at grade level by fourth grade, their ability to succeed in other subjects is often jeopardized. East Grand School District had the highest fourth grade reading scores, with 76 percent of fourth grade students scoring proficient or above, while Burlington School District had the lowest scores, with only 12 percent of fourth-graders reading proficiently. To find data for your district, please visit the KIDS COUNT Data Center.

Posted in Fast Facts, KidsFlash |


Federal Health Update

A modified repeal of the Affordable Care Act failed to pass out of the U.S. Senate just before midnight mountain time last night. Republican Sens. Susan Collins, John McCain and Lisa Murkowski joined all of the Democratic senators in opposing the bill. Our Colorado senators were split on the bill, with Sen. Michael Bennet voting against the bill and Sen. Cory Gardner voting in favor of the bill, which would have resulted in 16 million Americans losing their health insurance coverage and impacted tens of thousands of kids in Colorado. (We provided some background on how we got to this point in our post yesterday.) The failure of this bill is a testament to everyone who attended rallies and called their senators and made their voices heard speaking up for Colorado kids. Click here to read more about what the “skinny” repeal bill would have done, what it would have meant for Colorado kids, and what’s next for health reform and children’s health care at the federal level.

What would the bill have done?

The final version of the bill would have:

  • eliminated the tax penalty on individuals who do not have health insurance (also known as the individual mandate),
  • paused the tax penalty on employers who do not offer affordable coverage (also known as the employer mandate),
  • paused the tax on medical devices,
  • eliminated the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which provides expanded investments in prevention and public health to improve health outcomes and to enhance health care quality,
  • increased the maximum contributions to Health Savings Accounts for two years,
  • provided funding for states to seek waivers under the Affordable Care Act and changed the approval process for those waivers,
  • increased the amount of funding for Community Health Centers, and,
  • prohibited federal funds from being sent to certain entities that provide abortions for one year (even though, under current rules, federal funding cannot be used for abortions except in limited cases).

How would this bill have affected Colorado kids?

Nationwide, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projected that about 16 million people would have lost their health insurance coverage over the next 10 years, with most of that loss (15 million) occurring next year. It’s likely that tens of thousands of Colorado kids would have been included in that total. That coverage loss would have been caused by:

  • Increased premiums in the individual market and health insurance exchange due to the removal of the individual mandate. It was projected that premiums would have increased by roughly 20 percent. This would have made it harder for some Colorado families, especially those in high-cost rural areas, to afford health insurance coverage.
  • Repealing the requirement to carry health insurance coverage would also have created a reverse welcome-mat effect, or “unwelcome-mat” effect. This effect means that because people would not have been required to have health insurance, families would not have sought out the coverage options that have led them to learn that their children were already eligible for coverage programs such as Medicaid and CHIP.
  • Repealing the employer mandate would have meant that some employers would have stopped offering health coverage to their employees and employees’ families.

So, what’s next?

It’s possible that Republican leaders in Washington, D.C. will continue to fight for some of these harmful changes to the Affordable Care Act in budget negotiations or through tax reform in the coming months. Alternatively, lawmakers could work together in a bipartisan way to improve the Affordable Care Act. If lawmakers decide to work together, they could make a number of fixes to the law. They could establish a new reinsurance program at the federal level that would help insurance companies pay for care for the sickest enrollees and help keep everyone’s premiums down. They could also fix the “family glitch” in which some middle-income families face high health insurance costs but are not eligible for tax credits to make the insurance more affordable.

Under current law, the Trump administration also has the ability to either shore up the markets, or as they have indicated they are likely to do, make small changes that will continue to destabilize the individual insurance market. The changes that the Trump administration has made so far include creating additional public uncertainty about whether they will provide cost-sharing reduction payments to insurance companies, which allow those companies to keep premiums low, especially for individuals facing the most barriers to good health. They have also indicated that they will reduce marketing efforts to encourage Americans to sign up for insurance through the federal Marketplace and shorten the open enrollment period for signing up for coverage through the federal Marketplace. Since Colorado has our own, state-based Marketplace, we are able to continue our own efforts to market coverage available through our exchange and able to maintain a longer open enrollment period.

Posted in Child Health, KidsFlash, Legislative |


CHIP on the horizon

There is one big health care fight coming up for kids in Colorado— advocating for continued federal financing of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, through which Colorado’s CHP+ program operates. Federal financing for the program expires at the end of September, and it is critical for the roughly 90,000 Colorado kids and pregnant women who use CHP+ for their health insurance each year that financing for the program continue. We are urging our federal delegation to support funding for CHIP through September 2019 to align with policy authorization for the program, and to support our state budget by ensuring states continue to receive enhanced federal payments through the program. Medicaid and CHP+ have been the 1-2 punch in Colorado that have helped us achieve historically high rates of health insurance for kids in our state, helping more kids then ever get off to a healthy start. Check back here for more details on efforts to extend CHIP financing over the next several weeks.

Posted in Child Health, KidsFlash |


Join us to learn where the “change” happens in public policy—state and federal budgets

speakuptraningJoin Speak Up for Kids partners Clayton Early Learning and Colorado Children’s Campaign on Thurs. Aug. 31st, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. to gain the skills and information you need to navigate the state and federal budget process and speak up effectively for early childhood development and child health. This complimentary training includes child care and dinner thanks to generous support from the Early Childhood Colorado Partnership. Register at: bit.ly/wherechangehappens.

When: Thursday August 31, 6:00-7:30 p.m. Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m.

Where: Clayton Early Learning, 3801 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Denver, CO 80205

What: Speak Up for Kids training on state and federal budgets

Why: State and federal spending decisions demonstrate what we value as a society and community. Together we can ensure that programs supporting children and families get the investments they need.

Posted in KidsFlash, Outreach |


Sign up for advocacy learning series from The Colorado Health Foundation

The Colorado Health Foundation is hosting a four-part advocacy learning series, Advocating for Impact. The first workshop in the series, Engaging Candidates for Public Office, will be held on Aug. 9 in Denver and will provide insight into legal parameters for nonprofit organizations engaging with candidates in public office. Presenters will offer information about how candidate engagement has advanced the goals of their organizations and lessons learned about how to effectively increase their impact. Click here to register now.

Posted in Child Health, KidsFlash |


Fast Fact- July 28, 2017

In 2015, 31 percent of all Colorado children (approximately 385,000 kids) lived in families with a high housing cost burden, defined as spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing expenses. When housing costs exceed one-third of family income, families often struggle to afford other necessities. To see how the cost of housing in Colorado compares to other states, please visit the KIDS COUNT Data Center.

Posted in Fast Facts, KidsFlash |


Senate’s Final Health Vote Tomorrow – Speak Up Now

A lot has happened in the U.S. Senate in the past few days with proposed repeals of the Affordable Care Act. Here is some context and explanation of what is expected to happen with health care legislation in the next day. Scroll to the bottom for phone number to make your voice heard!

Background:

The Senate voted affirmatively on the Motion to Proceed on the House-passed health reform bill that would repeal large parts of the Affordable Care Act and make dramatic cuts to the Medicaid program. The vote was 50-50, with Vice President Pence breaking the tie. Senators Collins and Murkowski joined all Democrats in voting against the motion. This vote started 20 hours of debate on the bill, split evenly between Republicans and Democrats. Senators are using this time to give health care speeches. So far, the Senate has voted down both the Senate’s version of “repeal and replace” – the Better Care Reconciliation Act – and their version of “repeal and delay” without a replacement. Both votes went down with a few Republicans joining Democrats in voting against. Once debate ends, likely sometime this afternoon, vote-a-rama will start. During vote-a-rama, Senators can bring forward an unlimited number of amendments on the bill, which will be voted on quickly. It is expected that Republicans will put forward some politically challenging amendments during this time. Democrats could use vote-a-rama to force Republicans to take a slew of unpopular votes (e.g. put forward amendments that would protect care for cancer, or put forward amendments to protect care for pregnant women). However, Senate Democratic leaders have stated that they will not bring forward amendments until Senate Republicans show their cards and put up their final bill, meaning that a final vote could occur quickly once debate ends. We expect that Senate debate will occur late into the night tonight, with a final vote on Friday.

Likeliest Path Forward:

We have heard that Republican leaders are trying to get a final vote on a “skinny” repeal of the Affordable Care Act. This proposal would repeal some of the tax penalties and taxes in the law. The proposal would likely strike the tax penalty on individuals who do not have health insurance (also known as the individual mandate) and reduce the tax penalty on employers who do not offer affordable coverage (also known as the employer mandate). These changes would cause health insurance premiums in the individual market to increase substantially. Senate Democrats asked the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office to score a plan that included the rumored provisions of the “skinny” repeal bill. That estimate projects that 16 million Americans would lose access to health coverage over 10 years – and 15 million of those would lose coverage next year in 2018. Any number of additional changes could be made before the final vote.

If the Senate manages to pass a health bill, there are two possible paths forward. Either the House could take up the Senate bill and pass the exact bill and send it immediately to the President’s desk for his signature, or House and Senate leaders could decide to conference the House-passed bill (which would result in 23 million Americans losing coverage) with the Senate-passed bill. The conference committee would likely produce compromise legislation between the two versions and result in, presumably, 16-23 million Americans losing access to health care. If leadership chooses this path, the final compromise bill would have to go back through both chambers for a final vote.

Best/Worst Case

Senate Republicans have not produced a health reform proposal that would not result in millions of Americans losing their health insurance – which would impact thousands of kids in Colorado. At this point, the best outcome for Colorado kids likely would be that the Senate fails to pass any type of health care bill. The worst-case scenario, given where things are now, seems to be that a “skinny” repeal bill that raises insurance prices and jeopardizes coverage for millions of Americans is signed into law by President Trump. If the conference path is chosen, we will have additional opportunities to engage our lawmakers before the final vote in both chambers.

What You Can Do Now

Keep calling and emailing our Senators and House Representatives. Tell them not to support any proposal that increases the price of health insurance and jeopardizes health insurance coverage for millions of Americans.

PHONE NUMBERS:

Call both senators:

Sen. Cory Gardner: (202) 224-5941

Sen. Michael Bennet: (202) 224-5852

Look up your district here, then call your representative:

Rep. Diana DeGette: (202) 225-4431

Rep. Jared Polis: (202) 225-2161

Rep. Scott Tipton: (202) 225-4761

Rep. Ken Buck: (202) 225-5870

Rep. Doug Lamborn: (202) 225-4422

Rep. Mike Coffman: (202) 225-7882

Rep. Ed Perlmutter: (202) 225-2645

Posted in Child Health, KidsFlash, Legislative, Outreach |


Action Alert: Key Federal Health Vote Expected at NOON TODAY. Speak up for Colorado kids NOW.

A key Senate vote is expected around NOON Mountain Time today. The vote will be to start debate on Senate efforts to repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act. We need you to speak up for Colorado kids NOW. In an unprecedented move, it is still uncertain what bill will eventually be brought forward for a final vote, even though the bill will reshape one-sixth of our economy and undermine health insurance coverage for millions of Americans.

The vote today will be on the Motion to Proceed (also known as “MTP”) on the House-passed health reform bill, which would result in 23 million Americans losing their health insurance. At this time, it’s unclear what plan could be substituted for the House bill during Senate debate. Current options include a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement, which would result in 32 million Americans losing their health insurance, or a revised version of the Senate health reform bill, which would lead to 22 million Americans losing their health insurance.

Whatever bill is brought forward, we have not yet seen a health reform proposal that would maintain the historic coverage gains for kids in Colorado. Any of these options would result in millions of Americans losing health insurance coverage, including tens of thousands of kids in Colorado. All of these proposals would also blow a hole the size of several billion dollars in the state budget. They would also gut consumer protections and jeopardize access to health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions. Key health services to ensure that kids get off to a healthy start such as maternity care, preventive health services, and mental health services would also be at risk.

Please call our Senators now.

Our Senators need to hear from you – they need to hear your personal stories and why Medicaid and affordable health insurance are important to families in your community. Ask our Senators to protect strong and affordable health insurance and to oppose any plan that ends Medicaid as we know it. Yesterday, our Governor, John Hickenlooper, said, “Hundreds of thousands of Coloradans still face losing access to care and coverage. Let’s roll up our sleeves and find a bipartisan fix. Let’s deliver a health care package that works for everyone.” The Senate should take advantage of this opportunity to start from scratch with a new, bipartisan approach that focuses on making real improvements to insurance marketplace stability and affordability. Call both our Senators.

Call Senator Gardner [202-224-5941] and Senator Bennet [202-224-5097] – emphasize any of these points that speak to you:

  • Share your personal stories about why Medicaid and affordable health insurance are important in your community.
  • Ask them to oppose the upcoming Motion to Proceed vote and set aside any legislation that would end the Medicaid expansion, cap and cut Medicaid, and cause millions to lose health coverage.
  • Explain that Medicaid funding is essential to protect Colorado kids and parents. Children covered by Medicaid are less likely to drop out of high school and are more likely to graduate from college and have higher incomes as adults than uninsured children.
  • Explain that Medicaid is most important in our rural areas and an important tool in helping our communities deal with the rise in opioid addiction.
  • Tell them that tax credits need to make coverage more affordable in our rural areas.
  • Say that lawmakers should start over and use an open and bipartisan process to develop a health reform proposal that continues to improve the health care system and maintain the comprehensive benefits that are critical for children’s healthy development.

 

Posted in Child Health, KidsFlash |


Federal threat to health care continues—keep speaking up

After a whirlwind week, the Senate Republicans are again gaining momentum in their effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would jeopardize health insurance coverage and access to critical health services for kids in Colorado. Senate leaders hope to vote early next week on the Motion to Proceed (also known as “MTP”) on the House-passed health reform bill, which would result in 23 million Americans losing their health insurance. At this time, it’s unclear what plan could be substituted for the House bill during Senate debate. Current options include a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement, which would result in 32 million Americans losing their health insurance, or a revised version of the Senate health reform bill, which would lead to 22 million Americans losing their health insurance.

Whatever the result of these negotiations, we have not yet seen a health reform proposal that would maintain the historic coverage gains for kids in Colorado. Any of these options would result in millions of Americans losing health insurance coverage, including tens of thousands of kids in Colorado. All of these proposals would also blow a hole the size of several billion dollars in the state budget. They would also gut consumer protections and jeopardize access to health insurance for people with pre-existing conditions. Key health services to ensure that kids get off to a healthy start such as maternity care, preventive health services, and mental health services would also be at risk.

We still need you to call our Senators and speak up for Colorado kids.

Click here for phone numbers and tips – please call now.

Our Senators need to hear from you – they need to hear your personal stories and why Medicaid and affordable health insurance are important to families in your community. Ask our Senators to protect strong and affordable health insurance and to oppose any plan that ends Medicaid as we know it. Just as our Governor, John Hickenlooper, together with a group of 10 other bipartisan governors, said, “The Senate should immediately reject efforts to ‘repeal’ the current system and replace sometime later. This could leave millions of Americans without coverage. The best next step is for both parties to come together and do what we can all agree on: fix our unstable insurance markets.” The Senate should take advantage of this opportunity to start from scratch with a new, bipartisan approach that focuses on making real improvements to insurance marketplace stability and affordability. Call both our Senators.

Call Senator Gardner [202-224-5941] and Senator Bennet [202-224-5097] – emphasize any of these points that speak to you:

  • Share your personal stories about why Medicaid and affordable health insurance are important in your community.
  • Ask them to oppose the upcoming Motion to Proceed vote and set aside any legislation that would end the Medicaid expansion, cap and cut Medicaid, and cause millions to lose health coverage.
  • Explain that Medicaid funding is essential to protect Colorado kids and parents.
  • Explain that Medicaid is most important in our rural areas and an important tool in helping our communities deal with the rise in opioid addiction.
  • Tell them that tax credits need to make coverage more affordable in our rural areas.
  • Say that lawmakers should start over and use an open and bipartisan process to develop a health reform proposal that continues to improve the health care system and maintain the comprehensive benefits that are critical for children’s healthy development.
Posted in Child Health, KidsFlash, Legislative |


ICYMI: We’re hiring a development director

developmnetThe Colorado Children’s Campaign is looking for a dynamic and experienced development professional to lead our development team to the next level. We’re looking for candidates with experience creating and executing development plans and leading a strong team of professionals. We have skilled staff, supportive donors, a track record of success and a strong financial position. If you are ready to build on those strengths to move our advocacy on behalf of kids to another level, we’d love to hear from you. Please visit our website for details.

 

Posted in Development, KidsFlash, Outreach |


 

Featured Partner

Cherry

1580 Lincoln Street, Suite 420
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303.839.1580 • Fax: 303.839.1354
Email: info@coloradokids.org