Letter to governor urging veto of SB 213 (CHP+ enrollment fee)
May 16, 2011
The Honorable John Hickenlooper
Governor of Colorado
State Capitol Building, Room 136
Denver, Colorado 80203
Dear Gov. Hickenlooper,
I am writing to ask you to veto Senate Bill 213, which would establish a monthly enrollment fee for children in the Children's Basic Health Plan. This bill will impose an unacceptable burden on low-income families while saving the state little, if any, money.
As you know, the Bell Policy Center believes Colorado should be a state of opportunity, where all people can build better lives for themselves and their families. One of our nine gateways to opportunity is the establishment of a healthy lifestyle in childhood and adolescence. Senate Bill 213 could diminish that opportunity for 2,500 or more low-income children (at least 20 percent of current enrollees) who are likely to leave the program due to the financial burden of this premium increase. Not only will these children likely face worse health outcomes, they will also create more cost-shifting, place greater demands upon hospital emergency rooms, and impose even greater fiscal demands on safety-net providers.
Meanwhile, the fiscal note shows SB 213 will save the state virtually no money in FY 2012. In addition, the extra costs required to administer and manage this new fee over time would further limit savings for the state in future years. And the potential loss of federal matching funding would indefinitely close this program to those children who would be forced to leave it.
We are confident that more effective options for implementing cost sharing across higher income CHP+ families can be found. Those alternatives should be explored.
However, the approach provided by Senate Bill 213 is one that the Bell Policy Center cannot support. As a result, we respectfully request that you veto this legislation.