Data: Colorado not cashing in on census |

Data: Colorado not cashing in on census

Burt Hubbard
The Denver Post

Colorado ranks as the third-lowest state in the nation in how much money it gets from federal programs based on census demographics.

Tough eligibility standards for Medicaid combined with relatively low child-poverty levels led to the state’s low ranking, according to a report released today by the Brookings Institution.

“Colorado, even though it is wealthy, has a pretty chintzy Medicaid program,” said Andrew Reamer, the report’s author and a fellow with Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program.

The report found that in fiscal year 2008, the state got $4.4 billion, or $890.27 per person, in federal funds tied entirely or in part to census information. Only Nevada and Virginia took in less money per person, the report said.

That compares with a high of more than $2,000 per person for Vermont, Alaska, New York and Massachusetts.

The biggest reason was Medicaid funding, Reamer said. Federal health program payments to states accounted for 66 percent of all funding nationally based on census information, the report said.

Because Colorado was one of the 11 richest states in terms of per capita income in 2008 and because of its low poverty, the federal government reimbursed the state only 50 cents on the dollar for Medicaid costs compared with up to 83 cents for poorer states, he said.

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