Health Equity

Structural barriers based on race, ethnicity, income, LGBTQ status, and age among others, prevent individuals from getting the health care they need and deserve. We work toward health equity by addressing systems of oppression and barriers that lead to disparate health outcomes.

Recent Work in this Area

Supporting a paid family and medical leave program in Colorado

We believe all Coloradans should have access to paid family medical leave to take care of themselves or a family member. Many Coloradans do not currently have access to paid family medical leave, and face loss of income/wages, losing their job, foregoing needed medical treatment, or being forced to work when they need to be taking care of their health or the health of a loved one. Lack of paid family medical leave disproportionately affects people of color and low-wage workers and harms health and financial stability. SB19-181 would have created a universal paid family medical leave program in Colorado, allowing all workers to take time off when needed for their health and the health of their family. This bill was unfortunately unsuccessful, but we are continuing to work toward a comprehensive paid family medical leave program with our members and partners.

Promoting equal pay for equal work

Wage and salary discrimination disproportionately affects women and LGBTQIA individuals. Regardless of someone’s sex or gender identity, they should receive the same level of wage or salary as someone else doing the same work. With the passage of SB19-085, this is now clearly stated in Colorado law and provides legal protections against pay discrimination based on sex or gender identity.

Supporting a maternal mortality review committee to address why African American women die in/around childbirth at a rate three times higher than other mothers

The rate of dying in childbirth is on the rise and is roughly three times higher for African American women in Colorado and nationally. CCHI supported the passage of HB19-1122, which establishes a maternal mortality review committee to investigate and identify causes for maternal mortality and provide recommendations to reduce maternal mortality and the current disparity affecting African American women.

Ensuring transgender Coloradans cannot be denied equitable insurance coverage for health care services

We’ve worked closely with our member organization One Colorado to ensure transgender Coloradans have the same access to health care as all other Coloradans. We successfully advocated with Colorado’s Division of Insurance to release a bulletin in 2013 that stopped insurance companies from denying coverage to transgender Coloradans, trying to charge transgender Coloradans more for health coverage, denying care services because someone is trans, and incorporating transgender exclusions in insurance policies. Colorado was among the first states to ensure transgender individuals were not denied coverage or care because of their gender identity. We have continued to review health insurance plans and practices to ensure these protections remain in place and insurance companies and health care providers are not discriminating against transgender Coloradans who already face many health inequities.

Advocating for fairer medical debt collection practices

Recent data shows that Coloradans are still facing a high level of medical debt or are struggling to pay medical bills and being sent to collections. We advocated for HB19-1145 and HB19-089, which would have disallowed the practice of putting a property lien on someone’s primary home/residence for medical debt and limited wage garnishment for medical debt in collections. These medical debt practices are often predatory in nature, disproportionately affect low-income Coloradans, and contribute to a cycle of poverty and financial insecurity. While neither of these bills passed, CCHI will continue working toward policies that minimize the chances and ramifications of incurring medical debt, particularly for low-income Coloradans, as a way to improve financial security and health equity.

Supporting housing policies that secure healthy living environments and funding for legal support to Coloradans facing eviction

Historically, housing policies have institutionalized systemic racism, favored landlords over tenants, and lead to housing instability, evictions, and negative health outcomes for people of color and low-income Coloradans. If you rent a house or apartment, the landlord needs to ensure that property is a safe and healthy place to live. HB19-1170 provides protections and rights for tenants in cases where a landlord is neglecting the safety and living environment of a property. SB19-180 creates a legal defense fund to assist Coloradans facing eviction and HB19-1118 longer notice to before the eviction process can be initiated by a landlord, providing tenants a better opportunity to catch up on their rent. Having safe and stable housing is vital to being able to maintain health.

Ensuring an accurate census count in Colorado

An accurate census count is crucial to the health and representation of Coloradans. The 2020 census will establish how many seats Colorado has in the House of Representatives and how well our state is represented at the federal level. The census also determines a great deal about how federal funding is allocated at a local level, and therefore how well social support and investment programs are funded in a community. An undercount in the census would reduce the funding available to Colorado communities and our state’s ability to support health. If an undercount happens, it will most under-represent communities of color and hard-to-reach populations, meaning communities that are already facing health inequities, will struggle even more. That’s why CCHI supported HB19-1239 to support census outreach throughout Colorado. This will help ensure the census accurately counts our Colorado population and that our state is well-represented and receives the appropriate funding for programs that support health and health equity.

Our Work

Protecting Consumers

Coloradans should not face financial hardship because they need access to health care or because they have received health care services. CCHI works to protect consumers from health care industry practices that jeopardize the health and financial security of Colorado families.

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Access & Affordability

All Coloradans should have access to the health care they need, when they need it, and be able to afford it. While the Affordable Care Act has helped many Coloradans obtain health insurance, we know there are many that still struggle to access and afford the care they need because they cannot find a doctor or because the out-of-pocket costs are too high.

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Health Care Costs

Every year health care costs continue to rise, becoming an even bigger percentage of our economy and an increasingly unsustainable portion of family budgets. We are working to control costs and hold the health care industry accountable to patients.

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At the Capitol

Every year, CCHI fights for policies and bills that improve health care for Coloradans during the legislative session and year round within Colorado’s agencies that oversee health care. CCHI ensures consumers interests are advanced and protected in private insurance, Medicaid, hospitals and physicians’ offices, and access to prescription drugs. We empower Coloradans to use their own health care experiences to make positive change.

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Colorado Consumer Health Initiative
303 E 17th Ave, Suite 400
Denver, CO 80203



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