A tough week in Washington for Health Care for Colorado Kids and Families

Elections matter. This week, our elected officials in Washington failed to protect health care coverage for Colorado kids and families. They failed to make progress on reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP, or CHP+ in Colorado), released an Executive Order that will undermine insurance markets and gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and announced that the Administration will cease to make Cost Sharing Reduction payments, increasing premiums in Colorado by six percent next year and increasing federal spending. Our elected officials have the power to determine the health of our kids and families. You have the power to vote during the state election on November 7, 2017. Ballots are being printed now. Click here to learn more about Colorado elections and how to vote. Click here to read more about what happened in health care in Washington this week. CHIP, the Executive Order, and the Administration’s decision not to make Cost Sharing Reduction payments.

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Posted in Child Health, KidsFlash |


Congress fails to make progress on CHIP

Funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has allowed 8.9 million kids nationally to access quality affordable health care, has run out. Congress has a bipartisan plan to save the program. But every day they wait to act, states are forced closer to cutting kids from the program. Some states may need to start ending coverage as soon as next month.

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In Colorado, about 90,000 kids and pregnant women use CHIP to access quality, affordable health care. Congress has a bipartisan solution to keep the funding going, but it must act in order to make it a reality. Last week, bills passed out of the committees of jurisdiction in both chambers. The Senate bill to protect CHIP passed out of the Senate Finance Committee without dissent. The House bill included partisan offsets, including a policy that could reduce access to high-value Medicaid services such as pediatric preventive care and care for pregnant women. The House bill passed out of the Energy and Commerce committee with Republican votes only. This week, only the House was in session and no further progress was made on CHIP. The Senate will be in session next week (while the House is in recess) and we hope that the Senate moves their bill to the floor for a full vote next week. This update from the Georgetown Center for Children and Families provides additional details on likely Congressional next steps. Unless Congress acts, kids and pregnant women in Colorado will begin losing their health care in just three months, at the end of January. Colorado families should not get insurance cancellation notices for the holidays.

You can read a Denver Post editorial on the CHIP program here – and watch news clips about the importance of the program to one Colorado family here and here.

Please take a few minutes this week to call your U.S. Senators and Representatives to register your stand for kids and pregnant women. Tell them you believe the bipartisan solution to extend CHIP is right for Colorado and right for our country. Time is running out and your call can make a difference today.

Additional talking points for you to use when contacting your Senators and Representatives:

  • Congress needs to act on the bipartisan plan to extend funding for CHIP for five years. It’s a fair compromise that protects kids and pregnant women.
  • Congress should pass the policy proposals that have been put forth in both chambers, with bipartisan offsets.
  • Extending funding for CHIP for five years will help ensure stable coverage for working families and greater budget certainty for states.
  • Maintaining funding for the CHIP program is crucial to protecting Colorado’s budget.
  • 90,000 children and pregnant women from working families in Colorado use CHIP for their health insurance every year.
  • Children with chronic conditions deserve certainty in their medical coverage. And pregnant women should not be forced to scramble for a new doctor mid-pregnancy. Ending a successful program, with little warning, denies children the healthy start they need.
  • Kids with health coverage are less likely to drop out of high school, more likely to graduate from college, and have higher incomes as adults.

Contact Information for Colorado’s U. S. Senators

Senator Michael Bennet

Local office (303) 455-7600 National office (202) 224-5852

Senator Cory Gardner

Local office (303) 391-5777 National office (202) 224-5941

Contact Information for Colorado’s U.S. Representatives

Representative Coffman

Call if you live in Aurora, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, Brighton

Local office (720) 748-7514 National office (202) 225-7882

Representative Tipton

Call if you live in Grand Junction, Durango, Pueblo, Gunnison

Local office (970) 259-1490 National office (202) 225-4761

Representative Buck

Call if you live in Greeley, Fort Collins, Longmont, Brush, Burlington, Fort Morgan, Stratton, Julesburg, Holyoke

Local office (970) 702-2136 National office (202) 225-4676

Representative Lamborn

Call if you live in Salida, Buena Vista, Colorado Springs, Monument, Fountain, Canyon City, Woodland Park

Local office (719) 520-0055 National office (202) 225-4422

Representative Polis

Call if you live in Lafayette, Niwot, Boulder, Fort Collins, Lyons, Loveland, Granby, Breckenridge, Silverthorne, Kremmling

Local office (303) 484-9596 National office (202) 225-2161

Representative Perlmutter

Call if you live in Lakewood, Arvada, Westminster, Thornton, Northglenn

Local office (303)274-7944 National office (202) 225-2645

Representative DeGette

Call if you live in Denver

Local office (303) 844-4988 National office (202) 225-4431

Posted in Child Health, KidsFlash |


President’s Executive Order on health care will destabilize insurance markets

Yesterday, the President signed an Executive Order to expand the use of association health plans and short-term health insurance plans, which do not provide coverage of essential health benefits including mental health care and maternity care, nor guarantee coverage of pre-existing conditions. It will take some time for these changes to be made through the regulatory process, but they could encourage some individuals to purchase insufficient health plans and drive up the cost of insurance plans offered through the marketplace.

The Protect Our Care Colorado Coalition released a statement on the Executive Order, noting “today, the Trump administration took a deliberate step to sabotage the insurance market and gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions.” The Colorado Department of Insurance also issued a statement, explaining, “The limited benefit requirements for association and short-term plans will be detrimental to those with health needs.”

Posted in Child Health, KidsFlash |


President’s Executive Order on health care will destabilize insurance markets

The President announced late last night that the Administration will end the payment of cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs) to health insurance issuers under the Affordable Care Act. As we’ve discussed before in KidsFlash, CSRs help reduce out-of-pocket costs of health insurance coverage for lower income consumers. Every month, issuers have been receiving CSR payments from the Administration to cover these costs.

The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) stated that eliminating the CSR payments will cause health insurance premiums to increase across the state, with an average increase of six percent. This afternoon, the Division stated, “Now that the Trump administration is purposefully making people pay more for their health insurance, the DOI will move to the non-CSR-funded rates [that were also submitted by issuers this summer]. These rates have already been reviewed by the DOI, and today the division is pushing the new premiums to Connect for Health Colorado so they can be loaded into its system. The Division’s plan is that open enrollment will continue as scheduled, Nov. 1 – Jan. 12.” The Congressional Budget Office has projected that if CSR payments are not made next year, premiums in the individual market would increase by 20 percent on average nationwide in 2018 and 25 percent by 2020 and that failure to make the payments will increase the federal deficit by $6 billion in 2018, and by a total of $194 billion over the next 10 years.

Adela Flores-Brennan made the following statement on behalf of the Protect our Care Colorado Coalition, “Congress must move immediately to stabilize the individual market with a bipartisan bill and reinstitute these cost-sharing payments, or Colorado’s individual market could spiral out of control rapidly.”

Posted in Child Health, KidsFlash |


You’re invited! Step Up for Kids Forum: Federal Policy Proposals and Potential Impacts for Colorado Kids

Join the Colorado Chilstepupdren’s Campaign, Colorado Fiscal Institute, and Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center in partnership with Every Child Matters for a public forum on federal issues that impact kids in Colorado. How does the federal budget get created? How could potential changes in the federal budget impact the Colorado state budget and state policy? What will happen to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) now that Congress has allowed funding to expire? How does federal funding for voluntary home-visiting programs impact Colorado kids? Why are public school advocates worried about federal tax reform? What can we all do to speak up effectively for Colorado kids and families? Join us to learn the answers to these questions and others.

What: Step Up for Kids Forum: Federal Policy Considerations and their Potential Impacts on Colorado Kids

When: Monday, October 16, 10am – 11:30am

Where: Old Supreme Court Chambers, 2nd floor of the Colorado State Capitol (200 E. Colfax Ave.)

Hosted by: Colorado Children’s Campaign, Colorado Fiscal Institute, and Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center in partnership with Every Child Matters

Posted in KidsFlash, Outreach |


Indigenous People’s Day

By Melissa Roybal

The Children’s Campaign believes it is imperative that individuals from communities that have historically been impacted by centuries old policies be the voice of their communities in our collective fight for change. Melissa is a fifth generation Coloradan who serves as a Mentor Specialist and has a passion for sharing her family’s heritage and history.

At this time of the year emotions are high among individuals that identify as indigenous. In this nation, there are differences of opinion on who Christopher Columbus was and what he represents. Some consider him to be a colonizer, others consider him an adventurer and master of discovery. As I sat and watched the Columbus Day parade last Saturday, my heart ached. There was not a single acknowledgment of the America my ancestors were once a part of or of the inhabitants that were here thousands of years prior to Columbus’s arrival.  It is this understanding and acknowledgment that the Indigenous population desires.

When moments in history are not acknowledged or discussed in their entirety, whole groups of people struggle to feel that they are part of this nation. Education is perhaps the most essential tool to help bring awareness and sensitivity to this in our communities. It is the recognition and understanding of the impacts of colonization and how it has shaped the indigenous population that will help us all move forward.

Posted in KidsFlash, Outreach |


Can you tell me how to get… to our Annual Luncheon?

The Campaign is gearing up for our Annual Luncheon on November 1st and it is one you don’t want to miss!  We are thrilled to bring Sonia Manzano, “Maria” of Sesame Street fame, to add her fun and familiar voice to our conversation around the need for equitable public policy to ensure a brighter future for Colorado kids.  Want to learn how you can help create “Avenues to Equity” in Colorado?  Grab a friend and buy your ticket here.

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Posted in KidsFlash |


Fast Fact- October 13, 2017

In 2016, approximately 32 percent of Colorado children under 5 received vouchers from WIC (the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children), down from 37 percent in 2012 at the height of the recession. WIC helps low-income pregnant women, infants and children access nutritious foods, as well as nutrition education and counseling. To find data on the percent of children who received WIC vouchers in your county, please visit the KIDS COUNT Data Center.

Posted in Fast Facts, KidsFlash |


Can you tell me how to get… to our Annual Luncheon?

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We hung out with some of our favorite monsters yesterday while filming the video for our annual luncheon. Join us on Nov. 1 and you’ll get the chance to hang out with one of our favorite Sesame Street actresses, Sonia Manzano, aka Maria.

In her empowering oral journey, Manzano will trace her childhood through moments of giddiness and bleakness and share the dreams that motivated her career as well as her efforts to bring an authentic voice for the Latino community to television. Get your tickets today before they are all gone!

Posted in KidsFlash, Outreach |


Congress Fails to Act to Extend CHIP Funding

Federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), known as Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) in Colorado, expired on Sept. 30 because Congress failed to renew it before the deadline. In Colorado, this puts in jeopardy access to quality, affordable health care for about 90,000 children and pregnant women.

Leaders of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee previously proposed a bipartisan plan to extend CHIP funding, but Congress’ focus on the latest attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act put it on the back burner.

The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing projects that Colorado will run out of CHIP funds at the end of January. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) has indicated that it will allocate redistribution funds to states that run out of CHIP funding first. Children and pregnant women in Colorado should continue to enroll in CHP+, and those already enrolled should continue to use their coverage to access health services as they normally would. But if a bill isn’t passed soon, states will be forced to make bad choices that could impact the health and future of kids and their families.

The proposal to extend CHIP funding passed out of the Senate Finance Committee this week. We’re thankful that both Sen. Cory Gardner and Sen. Michael Bennet support the proposal to extend funding for the proven, successful and critical CHIP program. Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have also introduced legislation to extend CHIP funding. The House proposal passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week along party lines, without any Democratic support. We are concerned about some of the payment mechanisms in the House proposal, including cuts to public health and prevention funding under the Affordable Care Act and threats to access to high-value Medicaid services such as pediatric and obstetric care.

This week, the 2017 Colorado CHIP Coalition submitted comments to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and to our representatives, urging them to support a clean, five-year extension of CHIP funding. The 2017 Colorado CHIP Coalition continues to advocate for Congress to act quickly to extend CHIP funding. To join the coalition and receive updates, please email Sarah Barnes at sarahb@coloradokids.org.

Posted in Child Health, KidsFlash |


 

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