Feb 22, 2019

Recent articles

25th anniversary recap

On August 10, 2023, CCLP celebrated our 25th anniversary, bringing friends new and old to the Carriage House at the Governor's Residence.

Legislative Update: Feb. 22, 2019

by | Feb 22, 2019

Bill to Watch: HB 1189
No one argues with the proposition that people should pay their legitimate debts. A technique that creditors often use is something called wage garnishment. This is a legal practice in all 50 states. Unfortunately, the protections Colorado law provides for people whose pay is garnished are inadequate. This is particularly problematic for lower income individuals who are struggling to make ends meet and for individuals under financial stress.

Under current Colorado law, an employer must perform three calculations to determine how much of an individual’s paycheck must be garnished and sent to the creditor. Simply put, this formula is most punitive to workers who are barely making ends meet already. In addition, Colorado’s garnishment law provides little time and notice so those affected can find other ways to cover their expenses.

Developed by CCLP, House Bill 1189 would ease the burden of wage garnishment on the hardest-hit Coloradans by requiring clearer and more timely notice of a garnishment so people can  understand their options and prepare for the possible reduction in their income.

The bill also would reduce the amount subject to garnishment to help people meet their budget while also paying their debts. In addition, HB 1189 would create a general hardship exemption that would let people make the case their garnishment should be further reduced – or eliminated altogether – if needed to support themselves and their families.

Introduced earlier this week, HB 1189 is sponsored in the House by Reps. Matt Gray and Alex Valdez and in the Senate by Sen. Jeff Bridges. It is scheduled to be heard by the House Finance Committee on March 11.

Bill to Watch: HB 1127
Too many Coloradans struggle to afford health care and meet their other basic needs. So we are encouraged to see an effort by the Governor’s office that will dedicate the resources and authority of his office to addressing the challenge of rising health care costs.

House Bill 1127, which recently passed out of the Colorado State House, would allow Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera to serve as the Director of a new Office of Saving People Money on Health Care in the office of the Governor. We hope this new initiative can be a source of innovative ideas, and that it will keep the needs of the lowest-income Coloradans in the forefront of its work.

Much of the conversation about health care costs in Colorado has focused on the high cost of health insurance for Coloradans in the mountains whose income is too high for federal insurance subsidies. Although it is important to address that problem, the uninsured rate for Coloradans whose income is between 139 to 299 percent of the FPL is double that of those whose income disqualifies them for subsidies. In addition, too many people entitled to critical Medicaid services are unable to access the care they need due to a lack of providers or other systemic barriers. Clearly, Colorado must make progress on many fronts and not just high health insurance premiums.

CCLP supports HB 1127 and looks forward to working with the Lt. Governor’s new office to prioritize improving access to affordable health insurance for lower-income Coloradans who do not qualify for Medicaid, and ensuring that Medicaid meets the health care needs and legal rights of Medicaid members.

– By Bob Mook

Recent articles

25th anniversary recap

On August 10, 2023, CCLP celebrated our 25th anniversary, bringing friends new and old to the Carriage House at the Governor's Residence.


To maintain health and well-being, people of all ages need access to quality health care that improves outcomes and reduces costs for the community. Health First Colorado, the state's Medicaid program, is public health insurance for low-income Coloradans who qualify. The program is funded jointly by a federal-state partnership and is administered by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing.

Benefits of the program include behavioral health, dental services, emergency care, family planning services, hospitalization, laboratory services, maternity care, newborn care, outpatient care, prescription drugs, preventive and wellness services, primary care and rehabilitative services.

In tandem with the Affordable Care Act, Colorado expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2013 - providing hundreds of thousands of adults with incomes less than 133% FPL with health insurance for the first time increasing the health and economic well-being of these Coloradans. Most of the money for newly eligible Medicaid clients has been covered by the federal government, which will gradually decrease its contribution to 90% by 2020.

Other populations eligible for Medicaid include children, who qualify with income up to 142% FPL, pregnant women with household income under 195% FPL, and adults with dependent children with household income under 68% FPL.

Some analyses indicate that Colorado's investment in Medicaid will pay off in the long run by reducing spending on programs for the uninsured.


Hunger, though often invisible, affects everyone. It impacts people's physical, mental and emotional health and can be a culprit of obesity, depression, acute and chronic illnesses and other preventable medical conditions. Hunger also hinders education and productivity, not only stunting a child's overall well-being and academic achievement, but consuming an adult's ability to be a focused, industrious member of society. Even those who have never worried about having enough food experience the ripple effects of hunger, which seeps into our communities and erodes our state's economy.

Community resources like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, exist to ensure that families and individuals can purchase groceries, with the average benefit being about $1.40 per meal, per person.

Funding for SNAP comes from the USDA, but the administrative costs are split between local, state, and federal governments. Yet, the lack of investment in a strong, effective SNAP program impedes Colorado's progress in becoming the healthiest state in the nation and providing a better, brighter future for all. Indeed, Colorado ranks 44th in the nation for access to SNAP and lost out on more than $261 million in grocery sales due to a large access gap in SNAP enrollment.

See the Food Assistance (SNAP) Benefit Calculator to get an estimate of your eligibility for food benefits.


Every child deserves the nutritional resources needed to get a healthy start on life both inside and outside the mother's womb. In particular, good nutrition and health care is critical for establishing a strong foundation that could affect a child's future physical and mental health, academic achievement and economic productivity. Likewise, the inability to access good nutrition and health care endangers the very integrity of that foundation.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition information for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.

Research has shown that WIC has played an important role in improving birth outcomes and containing health care costs, resulting in longer pregnancies, fewer infant deaths, a greater likelihood of receiving prenatal care, improved infant-feeding practices, and immunization rates

Financial Security:
Colorado Works

In building a foundation for self-sufficiency, some Colorado families need some extra tools to ensure they can weather challenging financial circumstances and obtain basic resources to help them and their communities reach their potential.

Colorado Works is Colorado's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and provides public assistance to families in need. The Colorado Works program is designed to assist participants in becoming self-sufficient by strengthening the economic and social stability of families. The program provides monthly cash assistance and support services to eligible Colorado families.

The program is primarily funded by a federal block grant to the state. Counties also contribute about 20% of the cost.


Child care is a must for working families. Along with ensuring that parents can work or obtain job skills training to improve their families' economic security, studies show that quality child care improves children's academic performance, career development and health outcomes.

Yet despite these proven benefits, low-income families often struggle with the cost of child care. Colorado ranks among the top 10 most expensive states in the country for center-based child care. For families with an infant, full-time enrollment at a child care center cost an average of $15,140 a year-or about three-quarters of the total income of a family of three living at the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).

The Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) provides child care assistance to parents who are working, searching for employment or participating in training, and parents who are enrolled in the Colorado Works Program and need child care services to support their efforts toward self-sufficiency. Most of the money for CCCAP comes from the federal Child Care and Development Fund. Each county can set their own income eligibility limit as long as it is at or above 165% of the federal poverty level and does not exceed 85% of area median income.

Unfortunately, while the need is growing, only an estimated one-quarter of all eligible children in the state are served by CCCAP. Low reimbursement rates have also resulted in fewer providers willing to accept CCCAP subsidies.