Gov. John Hickenlooper presented his budget for 2012-13 today, and there was some good news, largely because of the slowly improving economy.
"Because of the hard work we did together in 2011 and 2012, the State's financial position is markedly improved," the governor said in a letter to the Joint Budget Committee. "Our plan reflects cautious optimism for Colorado's economy and a prudent, sustainable approach to managing the state's budget."
Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid eligibility will be expanded to all U.S. citizens under the age of 65 with incomes less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level beginning in 2014 – unless some states decide to opt out of the expansion. That possibility arose as a result of the Supreme Court ruling on the ACA.
Some governors have already announced their intention to drop out, citing budget concerns but also partly for political reasons. Colorado and many others states will make their decisions after getting cost estimates.
Last Friday, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law Senate Bill 12-128, which will create a pilot program to help determine whether assisted-living facilities represent a cost-effective alternative for providing long-term care, as well as a better choice for residents and their families who are weighing their options.
Rep. Scott Tipton, in an April 2 My Side commentary in the Post Independent, "How I'm fighting for seniors in Washington," touted a "bold" budget plan approved by House Republicans as the blueprint for preserving "Medicare and other critical safety nets for seniors."
A report issued Tuesday by healthcare advocacy group Families USA illustrates how the Ryan budget, passed recently in the U.S. House on a mostly partisan vote, could cost Colorado up to $36 billion over the next decade.
According to the report, Colorado would bleed billions in Medicaid, Medicare and other federal healthcare spending over the next ten years if the budget were adopted.
Testimony to the House Health and Environment Committee
Robert Semro, policy analyst
March 22, 2012
My name is Robert Semro, and I am a policy analyst with the Bell Policy Center. The Bell is a non-partisan, non-profit research and policy organization founded on progressive values and dedicated to expanding opportunity for all Coloradans.
Health care costs are the key to our country's fiscal future. Unfortunately, most of the discussion these days is about cutting federal health care spending and not about reducing the cost of health care. If you think that cutting spending is the bottom line, you should ask whose bottom line they're talking about.