Jan 25, 2019

Recent articles

CCLP’s 2024 legislative wrap-up, part 2

CCLP's 2024 legislative wrap-up focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, supporting progressive tax and wage policies, preserving affordable communities, and reducing health care costs. Part 2/2.

CCLP’s 2024 legislative wrap-up, part 1

CCLP's 2024 legislative wrap-up focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, supporting progressive tax and wage policies, preserving affordable communities, and reducing health care costs.

Legislative Update: Jan. 25, 2019

by | Jan 25, 2019

Bills to Watch: HB 1118 and HB 1001
Under current Colorado law, a landlord is only required to give tenants three days’ notice to resolve a lease violation, pay any unpaid rent or vacate a property. If the tenant fails to do so, the landlord may file an eviction action to force the tenant out of the property.

Generally speaking, three days is not enough time to access rental assistance, relocate a pet, transfer children to a new school, make up for a delayed paycheck or negotiate a remedy that could reverse the eviction process. So in many cases, once the petition is filed, a forced move will follow.

Developed by CCLP and Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and sponsored by Rep. Dominique Jackson, Rep. Rochelle Galindo and Sen. Angela Williams, House Bill 1118 would extend the notice required before a landlord can file for an eviction for a non-substantial lease violation from three to 14 days. This extension ensures that Colorado tenants would have more wiggle room to address a landlord’s complaint without precluding a landlord from charging and collecting late fees for overdue rent.

One of two eviction-related measures led by CCLP this session, the bill will be heard by the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee on Feb. 6. Learn more about HB 1118 in this blog by CCLP’s Jack Regenbogen.

Recent data that suggests that the delivery of hospital care in Colorado is severely inefficient. The Denver Post reported on data that show Colorado hospitals spend 33 percent more on capital and administrative costs per patient than the national average. Between 2009 and 2016, overhead spending increased nearly twice as fast as the national average and Colorado hospital prices spiked by 79 percent.

At the same time, government spending on Colorado hospitals has increased substantially since the implementation of a program referred to as the hospital provider fee. Since the hospital provider fee program was implemented, the program has increased hospital reimbursement an average of more than $200 million per year. The increase in hospital reimbursement was supposed to reduce the amount of hospital costs shifted to private payers. Instead, the costs have only increased.

House Bill 1001, a transparency measure sponsored by Rep. Chris Kennedy and Sen. Dominick Moreno and supported by CCLP, would require hospitals to disclose utilization and financial data to the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. HB 1001 will ensure that Colorado communities and policymakers have the information they need to assess and understand what will and won’t work to rein in rising costs. Approved to the House Committee on Health and Insurance, the bill is scheduled to move the House floor for a vote on Friday, Jan. 25.

On the Radar: HB 1004 and HB 1013
We’re pleased to report that HB 1004, which would take the first steps toward creating an affordable, insurance option that takes advantage of the efficiencies of publicly funded insurance was approved by the House Health and Insurance Committee on Wednesday, by a bipartisan vote of 9-2.

Developed by CCLP in partnership with the Bell Policy Center, Healthier Colorado and Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, the measure would advance work on developing an insurance plan that uses state infrastructure to reduce premiums in the individual and possibly the small-group markets. It requires the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and the Colorado Division of Insurance to model and develop a proposal for legislative approval so that implementation could begin in 2020.

CCLP strongly supports this innovative, measured and pragmatic solution to increase health insurance options throughout the state while addressing the health care affordability crisis.

Another CCLP-led proposal, HB 1013, would extend Colorado’s child care tax credit for households earning less than $25,000 beyond 2020, when the credit is due to expire. The tax credit is essential in defraying the cost of child care, which is consistently one of the highest-ticket basic needs for working families according to our recently published 2018 Self-Sufficiency Standard report. Child care is essential to employment which is essential to reducing poverty. On Thursday, the House Finance Committee approved HB 1013 on vote of 10-1. Though HB 1013 originally made the child care tax credit permanent in Colorado, the bill was amended to extend the credit to 2028, at which time it could be renewed again.

– By Bob Mook

 

Recent articles

CCLP’s 2024 legislative wrap-up, part 2

CCLP's 2024 legislative wrap-up focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, supporting progressive tax and wage policies, preserving affordable communities, and reducing health care costs. Part 2/2.

CCLP’s 2024 legislative wrap-up, part 1

CCLP's 2024 legislative wrap-up focused on expanding access to justice, removing administrative burden, supporting progressive tax and wage policies, preserving affordable communities, and reducing health care costs.

HEALTH:
HEALTH FIRST COLORADO (MEDICAID)

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.

FOOD SECURITY:
SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (SNAP)

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.

FOOD SECURITY:
SPECIAL SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION PROGRAM FOR WOMEN, INFANTS AND CHILDREN (WIC)

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.

EARLY LEARNING:
COLORADO CHILD CARE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (CCCAP)

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.