Bob Semro, the Bell's health policy analyst, submitted testimony on Tuesday against a bill that would have restricted future legislatures in maintaining the expansion of Colorado's Medicaid program that accompanied the Affordable Care Act.
The proposal, House Bill 14-1135, would have prevented the use of General Fund money in administering the program. No General Fund money is used now, and Semro pointed out that if any such funding is needed in the future, decisions about that spending should be left to lawmakers in office when the matter arises.
We supported the expansion of Medicaid eligibility, and we believe it has succeeded in providing health care and health security for thousands of Coloradans. Previously, many residents had no regular access to health care, and when they did seek treatment, it was typically in emergency rooms – the costs of that uncompensated care then fell to hospitals, insurance carriers and Coloradans with private insurance coverage.
According to the Colorado Health Institute, the expansion under the ACA resulted in an additional 433,000 working-age adults without dependent children, who historically have not had access to affordable health insurance coverage, becoming eligible for Medicaid. And as of Jan. 31, 117,607 Coloradans have signed up for Medicaid through Connect for Health Colorado and other application channels.
We believe that HB14-1135 could have limited access to health care for these Coloradans.
The House Public Health Care & Human Services Committee defeated the bill on a party-line vote.
Click here to read Semro's complete testimony.