Public charge proposal would undo years of progress in covering Colorado kids

Written by: Erin Miller
Date Posted: October 5, 2018

A Trump administration proposal to cut off pathways to permanent residence for legally residing immigrants in the U.S. would also reverse our progress on ensuring that all Colorado kids have health insurance coverage. A new estimate shows the uninsured rate for kids in Colorado could double if this policy is enacted.

The rule was posted to the federal register this week for inspection and is scheduled to be published officially on October 10 – next Wednesday. The official publication date will start the 60-day comment period count-down clock. Make your voice heard and submit a comment fighting this proposal to strip health insurance from tens of thousands of Colorado kids! We will be in touch in the coming weeks with information on how to comment and some suggested language to use in your comments.

For more than a decade, the Colorado Children’s Campaign, together with partners through our All Kids Covered Coalition, has fought to ensure that all Colorado kids have access to affordable, quality, equitable and continuous health care coverage. Since 2009, Colorado lawmakers have implemented nearly a dozen bipartisan policy changes that have cut the percentage of children in Colorado who lack health insurance in half. Some of those same bipartisan state policies are under attack from the Trump administration.

The graphic shows the bipartisan accomplishments of the past decade

The graphic above shows the bipartisan accomplishments of the past decade. The two policies circled in red would be directly undermined by this proposal to force families to choose between meeting their basic health needs—or being able to stay together as a family.

These categories of lawfully present children and pregnant women could have their use of Medicaid or CHP+ held against them in immigration proceedings. This means that if a lawfully present child used Medicaid for health coverage in Colorado, and then turned 18 and desired to adjust their immigration status to a legal-permanent resident or green-card holder, any previous use of Medicaid as a child could make them ineligible to remain in the U.S.

Because of these consequences, which could lead to the separation of thousands of Colorado families, it is possible that many children and families would stop using the Medicaid and CHP+ benefits for which they are eligible. In fact, the Colorado Health Institute projects that the rate of kids in Colorado without health insurance would DOUBLE under this proposal. That would undo nearly a decade of progress in getting Colorado kids covered.

Health insurance coverage helps kids graduate from high school, finish college and have higher incomes as adults. As a state, we have decided that these supports make our population healthier and more productive. This proposal threatens to undo our state’s progress.

Erin Miller

About Erin Miller

Erin serves as the Vice President of Health Initiatives for the Colorado Children’s Campaign, leading efforts to improve health insurance coverage and quality for Colorado’s kids, improve access to health services, and ensure that every child has healthy places to live, learn, and play. Prior to joining the Children’s Campaign in September 2015, Erin worked on the Accountable Care Collaborative team at the Colorado Department of Health Policy and Financing. She has extensive experience evaluating federal, state, and local policies related to Medicaid, CHIP, the Affordable Care Act, and public health programs as well as working with legislators, policymakers, constituents, and other stakeholders to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations. Her professional experiences range from serving as a WIC Educator and Local Area Retail Coordinator for Denver Health to serving as a Special Assistant in the HHS Office of Planning and Evaluation in Washington DC and as a Health Policy Adviser and Budget Analyst for the U.S. House Budget Committee.