Today, Colorado Center on Law and Policy (CCLP) and the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Bethany Pray provided testimony for Senate Bill 24-093, Continuity of Health-Care Coverage Change. CCLP is in support of SB24-093.
CCLP Policy Fellow, Milena Castañeda testified at the Medical Services Board meeting regarding emergency rules for the NEMT.
Chaer Robert provided testimony against House Bill 24-1065, Reduction of State Income Taxes. CCLP is in opposition of HB24-1065.
Legislative Update: Jan. 22, 2016
Legislation could help low-income parents get ahead
Studies consistently show that a lack of affordable childcare limits parents’ educational goals and hampers their efforts to move out of poverty when their children would benefit the most. One quandary that low-income parents frequently encounter is that they can’t improve their skills to support their families without access to affordable childcare. Although some of Colorado’s educational and job-training institutions offer childcare services, the affordability and convenience of such programs are inconsistent. Often, the childcare that is available to parents in the regular workforce doesn’t meet the needs of parents seeking education and skills training.
To address the disconnect between the need and availability of affordable childcare for low-income parents, CCLP developed House Bill 1050, sponsored by Rep. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood and Sen. Mike Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs. The bill would create a time-limited task force charged with evaluating how state agencies could meet the childcare needs of low-income parents who wish to advance their education. Members of the task force would include representatives of several state agencies, counties, representatives of organizations that serve parents who have sought or completed education and training, and parents themselves.
The task force will be charged with streamlining administrative processes for making childcare more available and making recommendations for future legislative changes, if needed. The legislation has garnered support from the All Families Deserve a Chance (AFDC) Coalition, the Bell Policy Center, the Colorado PTA, Skills2Compete Colorado, the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, the Center for Work Education and Employment and the Colorado Children’s Campaign. Further details about the bill are available in this fact sheet. You can also learn about the legislation in this blog posting from CCLP’s Chaer Robert. HB 1050 is scheduled to be heard by the House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee on Jan. 26.
Committee stalls broker bill
Senate Bill 6 was turned away by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee in a 3-2 vote after CCLP’s Health Care Attorney, Bethany Pray, testified against the legislation on Wednesday. The bill would have required Colorado’s health insurance exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, to establish a system to refer consumers to qualified insurance brokers. SB 6 was supported by insurance brokers and sponsored by Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik, R-Thornton.
“Colorado should build on the work already done to reduce the numbers of uninsured, improving on our existing streamlined system for bringing people to coverage,” Bethany said. “…We oppose this bill because it does not appear to provide an identifiable benefit to consumers, it may actually result in greater costs to consumers, and it may limit access to assistance for consumers at the application stage when assistance may be most essential.” During her testimony, Bethany pointed out that the legislation was redundant and could potentially result in additional costs to consumers. She noted that Connect for Health Colorado’s website already refers visitors to locally registered brokers. Bethany also expressed concerns that the legislation would draw a hard line between those eligible for Medicaid and those who are not.
Because the bill was not postponed indefinitely by the committee, it could be revised (and revived) another time during the session.
Bill to Watch: HB 1045
Low-income and middle-class families could use all the help they can get in raising their children. That’s one of many reasons CCLP supports HB 1045. The bill would remove the requirement that Congress pass legislation to tax Internet sales to trigger payment of the State Child Tax Credit for low- and moderate-income families with children under age six. The trigger was originally imposed as a way to offset the cost of the tax credit. But with low and middle income parents facing financial need, and with Congress hopelessly deadlocked, it is time to remove that trigger. HB 1045 is backed by Colorado Fiscal Institute and sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont and Rep. Mike Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs.
On the radar
The legislative session just started Jan. 13 and already more than 220 bills have been introduced. Among those CCLP is monitoring include:
SB 2, which would direct Colorado’s Secretary of State to submit a ballot issue on whether Connect for Health Colorado should impose a tax to support its operations. CCLP opposes the legislation.
SB 27 would allow Medicaid recipients to receive prescription drugs from local retail pharmacies by mail. CCLP supports the legislation.
HB 1015 is another attempt by Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, R-Colorado Springs, to repeal all laws implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACC) contingent on the ACC’s repeal by Congress and the President of the United States. CCLP opposes the legislation.
Support grows for Responsible Re-Entry campaign
Close to 50 organizations have endorsed CCLP’s Responsible Re-Entry campaign. CCLP is working to build a diverse coalition to support legislation that will give more Coloradans employment opportunities by removing criminal background inquiries from preliminary job applications. The legislation under development will be sponsored by Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver. Learn more about the campaign and our endorsers through CCLP’s Responsible Re-Entry webpage.