SB 17-267 (Sonnenberg & Guzman/Becker K. & Becker J.) Sustainability of Rural Colorado
This bill includes provisions that would: 1) convert the Hospital Provider Fee into an enterprise fund; 2) lower the cap on the amount of revenue the state can collect before revenue must be returned to taxpayers in the form of rebates; 3) provide additional funds to rural school districts; and 4) require each state government agency to propose a smaller budget next year.
The Children’s Campaign strongly supports elements of this bill, but has significant concerns about other components. The bill will provide an additional $30 million in funding to rural school districts in year one and all K-12 schools in the following few years. Converting the Hospital Provider Fee into an enterprise will avoid significant cuts to hospitals that were required to balance the state budget in 2017-18. The Hospital Provider Fee allows the state to leverage additional federal dollars for key health program improvements and expansions, including the ability to provide kids with 12 months of continuous eligibility for Medicaid, and to provide coverage for kids and pregnant women in CHP+ up to 250 percent of the poverty line. Establishing the fee as an enterprise fund will help to protect these coverage expansions. We are excited about both of these provisions. However, the bill also lowers the cap on the amount of revenue the state can collect before revenue must be returned to taxpayers in an amount greater than the Hospital Provider Fee, meaning that the legislature could have to continue to make cuts to balance the state budget rather than work to prioritize additional state resources to meet critical needs in the state. The bill also requires state government agencies to submit budget requests next year that are at least two percent lower than budget requests for 2017-18, which could further restrict resources to meet the needs of the state in early childhood, health, education, and other areas. The bill also includes increases to certain categories of copays for Medicaid clients.
The bill passed the House on a vote of 49-16 and now heads to the governor’s desk for signature.
April 14, 2017
Passed the Senate Finance Committee as amended on a bipartisan 4-1 vote and now heads to the Senate.