Capitol Update: Health coverage, vaccinations and enrollment bills move forward

Written by: Children's Campaign
Date Posted: February 21, 2020

This week we were proud to support good policies that are being brought by our coalition partners and close advocates. We always appreciate the opportunity to speak up in support of policies that will support kids and families in Colorado.

On Wednesday, the Senate Health & Human Services Committee heard Senate Bill 163 a bill to strengthen our state’s immunization requirements. Our VP of Health Initiatives, Erin Miller, joined other health advocates to testify in support of the legislation. The bill will help keep our schools and communities safe and will help protect kids who cannot be vaccinated because they are too young or have serious health conditions. More than 400 people showed up to the Capitol to talk about this bill. And after a marathon hearing that went past 1 a.m., the bipartisan bill passed out of committee! Thank you to the sponsors, Sens. Julie Gonzales and Kevin Priola, and Rep. Kyle Mullica, for being excellent leaders on this issue. And a huge thank you to Governor Jared Polis for supporting this policy.

Even though the immunizations bill went late into early Thursday morning, we were not done supporting common-sense policies for kids. Later that day, our Policy Analyst, Sam Espinoza, also testified to support our friends at the Colorado Center on Law and Policy and their bill to make it easier for Coloradans to sign up for health insurance through Medicaid, CHP+, or on the state’s health insurance exchange. Sam did an amazing job explaining how the bill would help reduce the number of uninsured children across the state. The bill passed out of committee on a bipartisan vote!

Our policy staff work hard each week to analyze bills that would impact children and families. Here are a few highlights, and you can always track all the bills on our Capitol Updates page:

Protecting Preventive Health Care Coverage (Pettersen & Moreno/Esgar & Mullica)

The bill would codify a number of federally required preventive health care services and require Colorado health insurance carriers to cover them without cost sharing. The bill would expand access to certain preventive health care services including a wider variety of family planning services and contraceptives than are currently required to be offered without cost sharing. These policies are proven ways to expand access to contraceptives and reduce unintended pregnancy. To read more about this bill and its journey through the legislature, click here.

Colorado Healthy Communities Act (Gonzales & Priola/Mullica)

This bill would implement common-sense policy changes to help improve vaccination rates, support public health efforts and protect parental choice for those families who opt out of vaccinations. The bill would establish a statewide vaccination goal for all schools and child care facilities. It would provide additional resources and supports to help schools and communities reach this goal. Also, it would require schools to proactively notify parents of school immunization rates. It would strengthen our immunization data system and standardize the immunization exemption process. To learn more about this bill and its journey through the legislature, click here.

Health Care Coverage Easy Enrollment Program (Lontine & Will/Tate & Bridges)

The bill would create the Colorado affordable health care coverage easy enrollment program, which would leverage the tax filing process to connect Coloradans without health insurance to free or subsidized health care coverage. The program would allow Coloradans to ask Connect for Health Colorado, Colorado’s health exchange, to assess their eligibility for coverage options. The Colorado Children’s Campaign supports this bill because it would help reduce the number of uninsured Coloradan’s across the state and health insurance is crucial for Colorado kids and families. To read more about this bill and its journey through the legislature, click here.

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About Children's Campaign

The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child wellbeing in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research on child wellbeing and organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit www.coloradokids.org.