Senate Version of Health Reform Jeopardizes Colorado Kids
Yesterday, the Senate released a draft of their health reform bill. As expected, this bill closely mirrors the bill passed by the House last month. A vote on the Senate floor could happen as early as next Wednesday, which is not enough time to allow for careful analysis of a bill that will impact one-sixth of the nation’s economy and the health insurance coverage of millions of Americans. The draft bill released yesterday will not improve health insurance coverage or access to health care for Colorado kids. It will lead to hundreds of thousands of Coloradans losing their health insurance and will blow a hole in the state budget. We are following the Senate process closely and will be in touch early next week with actions that you can take to help protect health care for Colorado families.
This draft bill presented by the Senate would have a profound impact on children and families in Colorado:
- It would institute draconian cuts to our Medicaid program, which covers nearly half of Colorado kids at some point in a year. These cuts become especially harsh in 2025 – one of the last years of this “budget window” which will be analyzed by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. This means that the coverage loss found by the CBO will not account for the full loss of health insurance caused by the bill, which will become clear only after additional years have passed. Further, these cuts will force states to make impossible choices about continuing coverage for children, the elderly, and people with disabilities as the federal government stops paying its share of Medicaid costs.
- It would phase out the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which allowed Colorado to expand coverage to adults, including parents, up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, or $32,718 for a family of four. The Senate version proposes a slower phase-out of the expansion than the House bill, but the result is the same – an end to the Medicaid expansion, and shifting costs to states to fill this financial gap.
- It would jeopardize access to prenatal care, newborn care, mental health care and substance abuse services.
- It would reduce the tax credits available for the purchase of health insurance so that Colorado families are spending more to buy coverage that will cover less of their health care costs. The proposal would also take away tax credits for those with incomes between 350 and 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, which helps families afford the cost of health insurance, especially in high-cost areas.
- Uses the CHIP program to run dollars through for a “State Stability and Innovation Program,” a program that has nothing to do with CHIP and will create administrative burdens for states in administering the CHIP program.