Jul 28, 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.

We Did It Together!

by | Jul 28, 2017

Last night, after the failed vote on a last-ditch effort by Senate Republicans to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell finally admitted defeat. The ACA lives on and millions of people across this country and hundreds of thousands of Coloradans have the peace of mind of knowing that their health care is not going away anytime soon.

The last few days have been a blur – the proceedings have been hard to follow for advocates, citizens and lawmakers. Last night’s “skinny repeal” bill was made public only two hours before the vote.  And in the end, it seemed those who voted for skinny repeal needed assurances that the bill was only a vehicle to get to a conference committee started.

To put these past few months in perspective: Not one of the repeal or repeal-and-replace proposals put forward would have increased access to health insurance. Projections were that millions would have lost health insurance coverage and the cost of insurance would have skyrocketed. Under last night’s skinny repeal bill, 16 million Americans would have lost coverage and insurance premiums would have gone up by 20 percent each year between 2018 and 2026.

What have learned from this experience?

First: We can’t take away health care from millions of Americans. The ACA’s promise of guaranteed access to health insurance is here to stay.

Second: Policymakers should not try to fund tax cuts for the wealthy on the backs of Medicaid recipients. We care about our most vulnerable citizens; they will fight for themselves and we will fight for them.

Third: Democracy works! The enormous groundswell of opposition to the draconian and cynical proposals before Congress offended us and offended our sense of who we are as a nation.  Time after time we saw signs that said “we are better than this.” We proved that, indeed, we are.

What’s next? We know that the threats to Medicaid and to private health insurance are not over. President Trump seems to want the insurance market to fail. Proposed federal budgets threaten Medicaid and other public benefits programs.

We have a lot of work to do. We’ll start the conversation about what that looks like on Monday.  For now, it’s important to celebrate, to take a minute to reflect on what we have accomplished together. From the disability community and especially ADAPT who put themselves on the line and in jail in defense of us all; to the thousands in Colorado that organized, marched, called, wrote, texted, and tweeted; to our Governor and other Governors who stood with us and to our Sen. Michael Bennet and all the Senators who voted no last night.

We did it!

– Elisabeth Arenales

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.