Advocates back Colorado Medicaid expansion |

Advocates back Colorado Medicaid expansion

Associated Press
Denver, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado ” Groups pushing for changes in health care rallied and lobbied at the state Capitol on Monday.

One measure they’re backing would expand Medicaid by imposing new fees on hospitals (House Bill 1293). The money would be used to get federal matching dollars for a total of $1.2 billion a year.

Backers, including Gov. Bill Ritter, say it could provide health coverage to about 100,000 people and stop hospitals from having to pass along the cost of caring for the uninsured to people who have health insurance.

Families with developmentally disabled children are among those who could be helped. Families of four earning up to $40,000 a year would be able to pay to get Medicaid coverage.

Members of about 50 groups, including unions, the Business Health Forum and the Colorado Medical Society, converged on the Capitol for the Health Care Day of Action. The coalition is also backing a measure (Senate Bill 223) related to the state budget. It would end automatic budget transfers to transportation in good economic years, freeing up money for health care.

Dianne McNamara of Centennial said she lobbied her representative and senator on both bills before joining about 150 people for the health care rally on the west steps. She said her developmentally disabled daughter is covered by Medicaid, but she has met parents who ended up quitting their jobs, and losing their health insurance, to care for their children.

The Medicaid expansion bill will get its first hearing Friday afternoon before the House Health and Human Services Committee.

Some Democratic lawmakers are also backing a measure (House Bill 1273) setting the stage for a single-payer health care system, which is set for a hearing March 18. Some members of the coalition back the measure, but the Medicaid and budget bills are the only ones all members agreed to back as a group.

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