Gov. Hickenlooper Proposes Medicaid Expansion
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- Governor Hickenlooper proposed to move forward with President Obama's federal health care law and expand Medicaid, which could allow around 160,000 Colorado adults with lower incomes to qualify for public health care assistance.
"I think that this is a step in the right direction as far as getting everybody covered in the State of Colorado," said Dr. Michael Pramenko, with Primary Care Partners
Officials say the governor said the expansion would cost Colorado around $128 million, but he's found ways to make cuts and create savings for Medicaid that would out weigh the cost, saving more than $280 million in the next several years.
"So there are ways that you can design a system to encourage people to utilize an outpatient setting," said Pramenko.
Gov. Hickenlooper said, "We worked diligently over the past several months to find savings in order to expand coverage. Not one dollar from the state's general fund will be used for this expansion, even in 2017 when the federal government begins to reduce its share."
One local doctor says expanding Medicaid is needed in Mesa County.
The expansion proposed would allow single adults making less than about 15,000 a year to receive Medicaid.
"[It would help] People that currently cannot get on Medicaid, but also at the same time don't make enough money to even consider buying health insurance. I believe this expands that to up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level for adults," said Pramenko.
Various organizations said it would benefit many people.
The Colorado Hospital Association says, "Strengthening and expanding Medicaid will lead to improved physical and economic health for all of Colorado."
The Colorado Children's Campaign said, "One of the best ways to make sure children get the health care they need to stay healthy and grow up strong is to cover their parents."
"I think good care for parents equals better care for kids," said Pramenko.
If the governor gets the support that he needs the Medicaid expansion is expected to take effect in 2014.