CCLP fights to ensure Medicaid and the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) are effective supports for Colorado families. CCLP works directly with state policymakers and administrators to protect and expand access to health care, including Medicaid and CHP+. When necessary, CCLP goes to court in order to protect access to appropriate medical care and to make sure Colorado’s Medicaid program follows state and federal laws.

Many men can draft many laws. But few have the piercing and humane eye which can see beyond the words to the people that they touch.  – President Lyndon Johnson,1965

Medicaid expansion makes Colorado’s workforce and economy healthier

Expanding medicaid is good for Colorado2

An additional 160,000 low-income Coloradans became eligible for Medicaid on January 1, 2014. Medicaid is now available to all Coloradans with incomes at or below 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, which equals $31,332 for a family of four and $15,282 for an individual. CCLP estimates more than 122,000 of those who are expected to gain coverage are members of working families.

Providing access to health care to 122,000 working Coloradans by expanding Medicaid will have widespread benefits throughout Colorado’s economy. Not only will it provide those low-wage workers the peace of mind and physical well-being that most higher-income Coloradans already enjoy, but expanding Medicaid will also bolster some of the primary economic engines in Colorado. Many of the people who benefit directly are employed in restaurants, ski resorts and key industries throughout the state.

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Medicaid’s history in Colorado shows the program’s value in combating poverty and providing access to health

Medicaid is a foundational part of the nation’s commitment to equal opportunity for all people, regardless of age, disability or income. Along with the companion Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) program, Medicaid in Colorado provides critical health coverage to hundreds of thousands of residents.

1965 – Medicaid became law.
1969 – Colorado established a Medicaid program.
1986 – Medicaid eligible undocumented immigrants were covered under Medicaid for emergency care only.
1996 – Welfare reform severed any formal link between cash assistance and Medicaid.
1997 – State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) became law.
2001 – Health Insurance Flexibility and Accountability (HIFA) waivers created.
2003 – In an attempt to save money during an economic downturn, Colorado temporarily eliminated eligibility for pregnant women in CHP+ and capped enrollment for children.
2005 – The Colorado General Assembly passed a bill directing a portion of tobacco tax revenues to expand eligibility for pregnant women and children in CHP+ and reinstate eligibility for lawfully present immigrants.
2005 – The federal Deficit Reduction Act added new flexibility and authority to increase co-payments in Medicaid and established new proof of identify and citizenship requirements.
2009 – The Colorado Health Care Affordability Act established a hospital provider fee that enabled the state to draw down new federal matching funds, used in subsequent years to expand Medicaid and CHP+.
2009 – The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided states with enhanced Medicaid matching funds, which helped them through the recession.
2010 – The Affordable Care Act passed, which gave states funding to expand Medicaid to cover all U.S. citizens and qualified aliens up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level by 2014.

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Through the years, CCLP has worked to ensure low-income Coloradans are able to access Medicaid/CHP+ benefits

  • CCLP played a leading role in expanding Medicaid in Colorado in 2013, ensuring an additional 160,000 Coloradans could qualify for coverage. CCLP estimated before the expansion began that 122,000 of those who would gain eligibility were working Coloradoans.
  • CCLP works to ensure the state adheres to its obligation to all 423,000 Medicaid enrolled children under Medicaid’s Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment (EPSDT) program. EPSDT guarantees access to a comprehensive range of medically necessary care.
  • CCLP played a significant role in the passage of HB12-134, which requires Colorado hospitals to offer discount programs to any uninsured Coloradans under 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, as well as make information available to all uninsured patients about charity care and discount programs.
  • In 2011, CCLP successfully opposed an increase in CHP+ premiums, allowing an estimated 2,400 children to continue to access health insurance through CHP+.
  • 2,700 parents of low-income children kept their Medicaid benefits due to CCLP’s work with HCPF in 2010 to correct a problem with the department’s interpretation of federal law.
  • 2,626 lawfully present pregnant immigrant women and children were ensured Medicaid eligibility due to HB09-1353’s passage, which CCLP helped to secure.
  • In 2003, CCLP helped organize litigation (Soskin v. Reinertson) that delayed implementation of a law that would have terminated Medicaid eligibility for 3,514 lawfully present immigrants. CCLP’s action delayed implementation until funds were secured through the passage of the tobacco tax to restore benefits, successfully ensuring no immigrants lost services.

Learn more by reading our Medicaid & CHP+ publications.