Jan 30, 2017

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.

Statement on executive orders

by | Jan 30, 2017

Colorado Center on Law and Policy’s mission is advancing the health, well-being and economic security of low-income Coloradans through research, education, advocacy and litigation. Our work rests on the fundamental assumption that the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government adhere to norms that foster a civil society and the rule of law, and that addressing the needs of those who are most vulnerable and least able to do so themselves is a fundamental role of government.

We are disheartened at actions the Trump administration is taking, such as refusing entry to the United States of refugees fleeing war, economic privation and political retaliation for the assistance they have provided to the United States government; ordering executive agencies not to further the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; ordering that federal funds be withheld from cities that do not cooperate with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and expanding deportation priorities to those who have committed minor offenses whether or not they have actually been criminally charged. Some of these actions may not be constitutional and the executive branch may not have the legal authority to implement them without Congressional action or additional administrative processes. Nonetheless, they set a disturbing precedent for the approach and intentions of the Trump administration.

CCLP has worked for almost 20 years to assure that those with the least power and the fewest economic resources have access to health care, shelter and sustenance, are able to live a life of dignity, and have some measure of economic security. President Trump’s directive to federal agencies regarding the Affordable Care Act, while unclear as to its effect, undermines the progress toward universal health care made during the past six years. CCLP believes the Affordable Care Act should be strengthened, not repealed. President Trump’s orders regarding “sanctuary cities” seek to coerce local governments to withhold services and undermine basic public safety for people without documented immigration status.  Concerned that law enforcement officers will facilitate their deportation, undocumented immigrants will not report crimes — even when they are being victimized. The vast expansion of priorities for deportation established by the Trump administration would remove from the United States people with minor infractions or whose only offense was seeking a better life for themselves and their families.

Most troubling, however, is the President’s issuance of a ban on immigrants and refugees from Muslim countries who are seeking safety and freedom in the United States of America. In the words of Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago, “They lower our estimation in the eyes of the many peoples who want to know America as a defender of human rights and religious liberty, not a nation that targets religious populations and then shuts its doors on them.” Instead of offering hope to innocent people who have been caught in the cross hairs of conflicts in which they have no fight, our country is closing the door in response to unfounded fears.

Regardless of these actions, CCLP will continue working towards our vision of an inclusive economy, affordable health care, and a humane society. We invite you to join us in that effort.

– By Claire Levy

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.