The Colorado General Assembly took significant steps toward providing economic and health security for low-income Coloradans during the General Assembly session completed yesterday. Two issues dominated the agenda for low-income Coloradans: implementing health care reform and tax relief for working families.
Implementation of the Affordable Care Act will enter a critical stage later this year with the launch on October 1 of the Colorado Health Benefits Exchange. Now known as Connect to Health Colorado, the Exchange will help Coloradans navigate the purchase of private health insurance and link them with federal subsidies for the purchase of insurance. The legislature chose to expand Medicaid so the lowest income people in our state will also have access to health insurance. By advancing legislation that will strengthen both aspects of health care reform the General Assembly ensured that more Coloradans will have access to health insurance in the coming year.
The other major accomplishment for low-income Coloradans was the passage of SB-1, a measure that will provide a pair of tax benefits to working Coloradans — the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit.
When fully implemented, the combination of those two policies will put hundreds of dollars back in the pockets of low-wage working parents. A full-time minimum wage worker with two children younger than 6 could receive a tax refund of up to about $1,000. The size of the benefit would vary by income, and the number and age of the children.