Denver, CO – Today, over 100 advocates rallied at the state capitol building to call on lawmakers to oppose a bill that would institute work requirements for Coloradans on Medicaid. Senate Bill 214 would institute unnecessary and harmful restrictions to the state’s Medicaid program, creating an additional bureaucratic barrier between patients and medical care.
“We already know the majority of Medicaid recipients work if they are able to, so this is really just a bill in search of a problem,” said Adam Fox, Director of Strategic Engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. “Senate Bill 214 will kick thousands of Colorado families off their health insurance and prevent vulnerable populations like kids, seniors and people with disabilities from receiving critical care. Simply put, this is just another attempt to strip health insurance away from people that need it.”
The Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing found that 76 percent of nonelderly adults and children enrolled in Medicaid in Colorado live in families with at least one person working. The majority of people who are not working under Medicaid already have health conditions that prevent them from working, are taking care of family members or are in school.
In addition, studies show that when programs have implemented these types of requirements in the past, recipients with barriers to employment never found employment and that most recipients remained poor and some became poorer. Studies have also shown that providing Medicaid and helping people get healthier improves their ability to find and keep a job.
“When I was 28 and working part-time for a homeless shelter, I found a lump in my breast. It was cancer. I would not have had the money to get it checked or for any subsequent care without Medicaid,” said Shelby Scott. “I am forever grateful for Medicaid – it was there for me when I needed it financially, and the doctors took great care of me.”
Senate Bill 214 also hurts Colorado’s economy. Verifying the work status of adults with Medicaid coverage will add IT and case management cost burdens to the state and counties. This will shift resources away from providing actual health care and towards administrative red tape.
Senate Bill 214 will be heard immediately after the rally in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
A fact sheet and full list of organizations in opposition to Senate Bill 214 can be found here.
Protect Our Care Colorado is a coalition of 48 organizations in Colorado advocating to protect the health care of Coloradans. To learn more about the coalition, visit ProtectOurCareCo.org