Advocates across Colorado are interested in improving access to health coverage and care
for Colorado’s immigrant populations. One barrier to improving access is state legislation
referred to as House Bill 06-1023 (HB 1023). HB 1023 requires state and local government
agencies, with some exceptions, to verify the lawful presence of applicants for public benefits.
The barriers resulting from the law are the result of commonly held misunderstandings
more so than the law’s actual requirements. Federal law prohibits states, with some
exceptions, from providing federal, state, and local public benefits to immigrants that do not
have legal status. Colorado must adhere to the federal requirements and verify the lawful
presence of applicants for public benefits regardless of whether HB 1023 is repealed.
This brief, compiled by the Center for Health Progress and Colorado Center on Law and Policy, clarifies the elements of HB 1023, so that advocates have a clearer understanding of the opportunities and key barriers that exist for making government-sponsored health
benefits available and more easily accessible to Colorado’s immigrant populations.