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: March 1, 2019
Legislative Half-Time Report
With roughly two months down and two months to go in the 2019 Legislative Session, we thought it would be a good time to review the status of bills Colorado Center on Law and Policy is leading this year.
In our Family Economic Security Program (FESP), we’re pleased to report that the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee passed House Bill 1118 on a 7-4 vote on Wednesday. If approved by legislators and signed by the governor, HB 1118 would give families the chance to avoid eviction or find other housing by extending the eviction notification period from three to 10 days. The legislation now moves to the House floor. Thanks to Reps. Dominique Jackson and Rochelle Galindo for their work in sponsoring the bill in the House and for Sen. Angela Williams for hopefully guiding it through the Senate. A special thank you is owed to our partners at Colorado Coalition for the Homeless for their tireless work in support of the legislation. Please contact Jack Regenbogen at email@example.com if you’d like to join supporters of HB 1118. Learn more about the legislation in this Colorado Politics op-ed.
The practice of garnishing wages is used by creditors to ensure that people pay their legitimate debts. Unfortunately, the current protections that Colorado law provides for those whose pay is garnished are inadequate. This is particularly problematic for Coloradans in lower-wage jobs who are struggling to make ends meet. Developed by CCLP, HB 1189 would ease the burden of wage garnishment on the hardest-hit Coloradans by requiring clearer and more-timely notice of garnishment. Better notice would allow people to understand their options and prepare for a possible reduction in their income. The bill also would reduce the amount subject to garnishment to help people meet household needs while paying their debts. In addition, HB 1189 would create a general hardship exemption that would allow for garnishment to be further reduced – or eliminated altogether – in certain circumstances. HB 1189 is scheduled to be heard by the House Finance Committee on March 11. To join the coalition of supporters for the bill, contact Bob Connelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another FESP bill, HB 1107, would establish a three-year pilot program that would let economically challenged Coloradans request direct assistance of up to $400 a year for a specific emergency support service —such as short-term child care assistance or a bus pass. For a tiny fraction of the state’s budget ($1 million a year for three years), this innovative pilot project would help at least 2,000 Coloradans every year secure or retain a job and reduce their reliance on public benefit programs. The bill has garnered positive legislative feedback, passing with bipartisan support on Jan. 30 out of the House Business Affairs & Labor Committee. It has since moved on to House Appropriations, where the committee will negotiate the funds that will be appropriated to the program. If you are interested in supporting the bill, please contact Laura Ware at email@example.com.
Yet another CCLP-led proposal, HB 1013, would extend Colorado’s child care tax credit for households earning less than $25,000 to 2028. 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 CCLP’s Self-Sufficiency Standard report. Child care is essential to employment, which is in turn essential to reducing poverty. The bill was approved by the House Finance Committee on a vote of 10-1. It is currently awaiting approval from the House Appropriations Committee.
Among legislation supported or developed by CCLP’s Health Care program, CCLP was instrumental in developing HB 1004. which would advance work to develop an insurance plan that would rely on state infrastructure, provide affordable, high-quality care and increase competition in the individual market. The proposal requires the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and the Colorado Division of Insurance to develop a proposal for legislative approval so that implementation of the plan could begin in 2020. The proposal must contain a detailed analysis of a state option that weighs affordability to consumers at different income levels, administrative and financial costs, ease of implementation and likelihood of success in meeting the bill’s objectives. The bill was approved by the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday and will go to the House floor for a vote soon. If you are interested in supporting the bill, contact Bethany Pray at bpraycopolicy.org.
CCLP also supports HB 1168, which would establish a reinsurance program in Colorado designed to make health coverage more affordable to purchase. As conceived by HB 1168, the program starts with the basic idea that federal subsidies that are now used to make premiums affordable for individual Coloradans, can be partly repurposed to address the impact that very high-cost enrollees have on all plan premiums. In addition to using those federal pass-through funds, HB 1168 uses a unique mechanism to modify reimbursement rates after an individual’s care has reached a set price point, while also ensuring that primary care, behavioral health care and some hospitals can be exempted. The bill passed the House Health and Insurance Committee on Feb. 27 with a bipartisan vote of 8-2. CCLP and its partners at Colorado Consumer Health Initiative supported an amendment that would ensure that unintended negative effects on people living under 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) would be minimized.
In the weeks ahead, CCLP will help to introduce a bill to establish a legal defense fund to provide legal representation to Coloradans facing eviction. We’re also working on introducing legislation that will help ensure that hospitals that receive federal, state and local tax exemptions provide appropriate services to the communities they are funded to serve, a concept known as community benefit. Contact Jack Regenbogen to support the legal defense fund and Allison Neswood to support the community benefit bill.
– By Bob Mook