Sep 8, 2016

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.

News Release: Pathways Event serves food for thought on guaranteed income


(PDF available here)

Bob Mook
303-573-5669, ext. 311

Event serves food for thought on guaranteed income

With technology automating jobs once performed by humans, there is a growing concern that new jobs will not necessarily follow the technological advancements. As a possible antidote to this impending economic crisis, thought leaders on both sides of the political spectrum are talking about how a universal basic income (or U.B.I.) could provide a safety net for displaced workers in the not-too-distant future.

Under U.B.I., all citizens would receive a guaranteed income to meet their basic needs – supplanting human service programs such as food stamps and other so-called entitlements. The idea, which has its roots in the Nixon Administration, has been espoused by author and columnist Charles Murray of the conservative American Enterprise Institute. Last May, a startup accelerator announced plans to launch a pilot U.B.I. program for 100 families in Oakland, Calif. Other pilot programs will soon be tested in Kenya, Finland, and the Netherlands. Earlier this year, Judith Shulevitz, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, raised the feminist argument that U.B.I. could be a way to reimburse mothers and other caregivers for work they currently do free of charge.

One of U.B.I.’s leading proponents, Andy Stern, will discuss the concept and other issues pertaining to the U.S. workforce and health care as the keynote speaker at Colorado Center on Law and Policy’s Third Annual Pathways from Poverty Breakfast, Oct. 6 at the History Colorado Center in Denver. Currently a senior fellow at Columbia University, Stern is regarded as a visionary problem-solver on poverty and inequality. Modern Healthcare magazine identified him as “one of the key architects of healthcare reform.” As the former president of SEIU, CBS News once called Stern the “most important labor boss in America.” His book about U.B.I., “Raising the Floor: How a Universal Basic Income Can Renew Our Economy and Rebuild the American Dream,” was published in June of this year.

“While CCLP does not necessarily endorse U.B.I., we appreciate innovative ideas that advance the public dialogue on forging pathways from poverty,” said Claire Levy, Executive Director of CCLP. “Andy Stern’s keynote is sure to provide participants with nutritious food for thought.”

The Pathways from Poverty Breakfast attracts opinion leaders from Colorado’s health care, public policy, philanthropic, governmental and nonprofit sectors. The breakfast benefits the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, a nonprofit nonpartisan research and advocacy organization that engages in legislative, administrative and legal advocacy on behalf of low-income Coloradans. In recent years, CCLP has backed legislation to help more Coloradans secure affordable housing, led the charge to expand Medicaid in Colorado and backed proposals to raise the state’s minimum wage.

The event also will celebrate the work of Sen. Pat Steadman and David Butler, a longtime CCLP board member, with the Champion for Economic Justice Awards – a special honor recognizing legislative leaders and community members who have devoted their careers to helping low-income families or addressing access to health care.

Register now for what is sure to be an engaging, inspiring and thought-provoking morning.

Colorado Center on Law and Policy is a nonprofit, non-partisan research and advocacy organization that engages in legislative, administrative and legal advocacy on behalf of low-income Coloradans.

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.