Colorado Governor Signs Bill To Expand State Medicaid Program
Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) on Tuesday signed a bill (HB 1293) that would impose a fee on hospitals to raise about $600 million annually to draw down matching federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage and other health programs, the Denver Post reports. If the bill receives federal approval, Medicaid eligibility for children and pregnant women would increase from 205% to 250% of the federal poverty level, and single, childless adults with incomes at the poverty level would be eligible for Medicaid. In addition, the legislation would guarantee Medicaid enrollment for children for up to one year. The measure would expand coverage to at least an additional 100,000 uninsured state residents over several years. The bill also would create a program allowing adults with disabilities who have annual incomes of up to $48,735 to pay for part of their medical care, with the state paying the remainder.
The bill would be enacted over the next two years if the state receives federal approval to levy the fees. The bill calls for the creation of an oversight board that would make recommendations on how to impose the fees on the hospitals, and states that hospitals cannot pass along the cost of the fees to insured patients by making it a line-item on their medical bills (Hoover/Brown, Denver Post, 4/22).