People who lack access to health care often struggle to meet other basic needs such as food, housing and transportation. Often people who are critically ill or have critically ill family members are unable to work, which puts them at serious risk of financial instability. CCLP’s Health Program researches, advocates for and promotes policies that both improve the health and wellbeing of low-income Coloradans and address the social and economic barriers that prevent Coloradans from meeting their basic human needs. CCLP’s Health Program focuses on:

  • Improving and protecting access to public benefit programs such as Medicaid and CHP+.


  • Implementing health reform, including advocating for a strong and high functioning Colorado health benefits exchange.


  • Addressing health care costs and affordability.


The Health Program’s accomplishments include:

  • Responding to an outcry over high coinsurance rates for specialty drugs, advocates from CCLP, Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and the Chronic Care Collaborative began discussions with Colorado’s Division of Insurance in spring 2014. After more stakeholders joined the discussion, the DOI issued a bulletin acknowledging that the insurers’ cost-sharing structures violate non-discrimination requirements in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Furthermore, the DOI issued a bulletin advising Colorado insurers to give consumers the option of selecting co-payment plans that are less financially onerous for Coloradans with chronic disease.


  • Also in 2015, we successfully argued that Colorado incorrectly included children’s Social Security income as household income – keeping up to 33,000 Colorado kids from qualifying for Medicaid, CHP+ or tax credits through Connect for Health Colorado. As a result, a system correction has been made to rectify this problem. The fix puts Colorado ahead of the curve, as it appears that other marketplaces have only just identified the same error.


  • In 2014, we led the push for SB-187, which created the Colorado Commission on Affordable Health Care. The commission, which includes CCLP’s Health Program Director Elisabeth Arenales, will recommend policy options to mitigate health care cost drivers in Colorado.


  • In 2013, we played a leading role in Colorado’s decision to expand Medicaid under the ACA. More than 250,000 additional Coloradans have access to health care as a result.


  • In 2011, we successfully opposed an increase in CHP+ premiums. CCLP estimates that, as a result, 2,400 children were able to continue to access health insurance through CHP+.

In 2011, CCLP worked to support passage of SB 200, which established Colorado’s health insurance exchange. We have worked closely with the Exchange since, focusing primarily on the design, functionality and accessibility of systems that enroll low-income Coloradans into health insurance.

  • In 2009, we helped to secure passage of HB 1353. The legislation ensured Medicaid eligibility for 2,626 lawfully present pregnant immigrant women and children in Colorado.


  • In 2003, we helped to spearhead litigation that successfully delayed implementation of a law that would have terminated Medicaid for lawfully present immigrants in Colorado, many of them frail Old Age Pensioners. In the end, the delay ensured there was enough time to secure funding to reinstate eligibility and none of those affected lost Medicaid.

  • CCLP represented the public interest in the conversion and sale of the nonprofit Blue Cross Blue Shield of Colorado to Anthem Inc. We played a major role in ensuring that the assets of the nonprofit were valued fairly and allocated appropriately to serve the community’s needs. The conversion resulted in the creation of the Caring for Colorado Foundation in 1999. CCLP has continued to monitor and represent the public in health care conversions ever since.


Learn more about CCLP’s Health Program by contacting Elisabeth Arenales, Health Program Director, at