October 28, 2020
For more information contact:
Adam Fox, Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, [email protected], 303-563-9108
Sarah McAfee, Center For Health Progress [email protected]
Maureen Maxwell, Colorado Community Health Network, [email protected], 303.913.878
As the U.S. reaches a record high in COVID cases, Colorado hospitals face funding uncertainty due to Proposition 117
Denver, CO: Amid the escalating pandemic, Colorado health care advocates and providers are raising concerns about Proposition 117 and its impact on the future of health coverage for the uninsured and Coloradans covered through state programs. Due to the poorly written and confusing nature of Proposition 117, the Hospital Provider Fee, an essential revenue source to fund rural hospitals and Medicaid coverage, faces an uncertain future where healthcare providers and policy experts are unsure if the fund will be subject to requirements proposed in Proposition 117. Providers worry increased uncertainty caused by the initiative threatens Colorado’s ability to fully provide and fund public health services at a time when just this week Colorado reported a record number of positive COVID-19 cases.
“Looking at these very substantial risks, and how prop 117 could affect our healthcare system, it’s as if this proposition was crafted as a disguised attack on Coloradans’ healthcare. If there’s one thing Colorado doesn’t need right now it’s more uncertainty in health care,” said Adam Fox with the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative.
Concerns exist around whether an enterprise created in the last five years, such as the Hospital Provider Fee, would be subject to the provisions of the ballot question. If this enterprise is halted until it is placed on the ballot in 2022, Colorado will be unable to draw down federal matching dollars and those funds will have to come out of the general fund – leaving critical health care stuck without a funding source – in the middle of a pandemic, no less. This will pull revenue from an already decimated state budget and take money from other critical health care programs, education funding, and transportation projects.
“Proposition 117 increases risk to our state budget and removes an innovative way to receive federal matching funds for essential programs. Losing those funds moves costs to every Coloradan through increased health care costs. Now, in the midst of a pandemic, is not the time to make cuts to essential programs,” said Polly Anderson, Vice President of Strategy and Financing for the Colorado Community Health Network.
“If Prop 117 passes, it will further restrict the ability of our elected officials to address the needs of our state. This could not have come at a worse time as Coloradans face big cuts to essential things like education and health care. We need to have every tool in our toolbox to keep essential services people and communities depend on, and recover as a state,” said Rayna Hetlage with the Center for Health Progress.
Proposition 117 is before voters this election and would require voter approval for any enterprise that generates over $100 million in the first five years. Enterprises fund government programs through fees for goods and services, including programs like unemployment insurance, Parks & Wildlife, and college savings accounts in addition to health care programs. Without enterprise funds, Colorado lawmakers would need to cut future programs like these and look to the already gutted general fund for resources to fund critical programs.
Colorado Consumer Health Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that represents 40+ Colorado health organizations with more than 500,000 health care consumers advocating for equitable access to high-quality, affordable health care. In 2018, CCHI received the “Get Wise” Consumer Protection award from the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).