Many school districts, and advocacy organizations in Colorado (including The Consortium) signed onto this nationwide letter calling upon Congress to immediately extend USDA’s child nutrition waiver authority through School Year 2022-2023.
This extension is urgently needed to ensure that the federal child nutrition programs continue to operate and provide healthy snacks and meals to all students. This letter has been shared with every Congressional office, the House and Senate leadership, USDA, and many others involved in negotiations on the next omnibus/continuing resolution (appropriations) legislation.
The Consortium signed onto a letter to Hill leadership in support of 12-month continuous eligibility for children in Medicaid and CHIP in the reconciliation package currently moving through Congress. Collectively, we are concerned that millions of people enroll in Medicaid and CHIP each year only to subsequently lose their coverage – despite often still being eligible – because of the cycle of enrollment and disenrollment called “eligibility churn.” Eligibility churn is caused by inefficient paperwork and other reporting requirements or temporary income fluctuations. You can read the letter here or on the Association for Community Affiliated Plans website.
Over 50 organizations and school districts signed on to a letter urging HCPF to include school psychologists who meet CDE special services licensing requirements in the SHS Program Manual as qualified Medicaid providers. The Consortium partnered with Colorado Children’s Campaign to engage partner organizations and policymakers in this effort.
The appropriate inclusion of school psychologists will allow Colorado school districts to draw down additional federal Medicaid reimbursements to support the critical health and mental health services that are needed in our schools.
Please review the final version of the letter that was shared with HCPF on Friday, October 2, 2020. We will keep you updated with any information related to this advocacy work.
USDA Waiver Letter
The Consortium and several school districts joined nearly 1,400 national, state, and local organizations in signed onto the letter asking USDA to issue additional child nutrition waivers to support access and program operations through the rest of the school year.
The final version of the letter was shared with USDA
COVID-19 Testing Guidelines
The Consortium joined 235 other organizations in signing a letter to Vice President Pence expressing our serious concerns with the recent change to COVID-19 testing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and asking the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reverse the revision. The full letter is available here.
USDA Child Nutrition Programs Extension
The Consortium joined organizations across the country, including the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), Feeding America, the School Nutrition Association, and Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign, in signing a letter asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to extend critical nationwide child nutrition program waivers through the coming school year. This should include allowing the Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option to be used to feed children during the upcoming school year along with other important flexibilities. This sign-on letter for schools, sponsors, and state and local organizations reiterates the requests made by nearly 70 national organizations in a letter sent to USDA on July 20, 2020.
Oppose Proposition 116
A letter was delivered to Governor Polis in opposition to the proposed tax cut. The average Colorado family would receive around $40 dollars in tax relief, while our wealthiest residents would see thousands in reduced taxes. Those who receive the lowest amount of relief will struggle the most with the ensuant budget cuts to state services. This tax cut will only widen the inequities in a fiscal system that is already tilted toward the wealthiest Coloradans.
Letter to USDHHS Secretary Azar: Role of CDC
The Consortium signed on to a letter urging Health and Human Services to affirm the invaluable role of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and resist any efforts that would undermine its mission, in response to increasing reports of resistance to evidence-based public health messages and threats to public health leaders and agencies. Organizations across the US stand in solidarity with the local, tribal, and territorial public health agencies as they strive to provide guidance in how to re-open safely, avoid preventable deaths and decrease the likelihood of a second major shutdown on the economy. Read the full letter here.
Letter to State Lawmakers and Governor Polis Concerning Passing an Emergency Tax:Three Pronged Approach
In response to the economic and health emergency a diverse group of Coloradoans came together to advocate for: The appropriate use of our state budget reserves; the passage of a temporary state tax that will raise substantial revenue and alleviate the disproportionate tax burden our low-income families are carrying; and Federal aid that Colorado can use to fill budget gaps. The full letter can be found here.
As Congress takes action to finalize “Phase 3” legislation responding to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), organizations, who are dedicated to protecting the health of children, families, and the most vulnerable in our nation, have strongly urged Congress to move legislation forward that includes least $150 billion in direct aid to states for fiscal relief as they deploy their resources to address critical health needs and absorb the related economic crisis. The Consortium has signed on to this letter of support addressed to Congress.
Supporting CHP+ Coverage for Colorado's Kids and Pregnant Women
While federal funding is guaranteed through FFY2027, CHP+’s success relies on continued state-level support. All Kids Covered urges the legislature to continue its tradition of investing in our children’s health insurance coverage. All Kids Covered is a broad and diverse coalition that represents child health advocates, family doctors, pediatricians, community clinics, hospitals and many others who have seen first-hand that CHP+ has made a genuine impact on tens of thousands of Colorado kids and their families as well as the pregnant women the program serves. Read the full document.
Support HB 1236 - Easy Health Coverage Enrollment
Letter to CMS Administrator Verma, RE: Block Granting
The Consortium joined leading national, state, and local organizations, representing health care consumers and patients, providers, and other stakeholders, in writing a strong opposition to recent guidance from CMS, Healthy Adult Opportunity, which allows states to fundamentally change the nature of their Medicaid programs. Advocates urged the Administration to rescind this guidance, which could hurt millions of families that rely on Medicaid. Read the full letter here.
The Consortium signed on to a letter to Congress opposing the proposal to rescind CHIP funding.
You can read the full letter here.
On behalf of 511 national, state, and local organizations dedicated to promoting the health of our nation’s children and pregnant women, we write to voice our strong opposition to the White House’s proposal to rescind $7 billion dollars of funding from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This proposal violates the bipartisan budget agreement that Congress and the President reached earlier this year to set funding levels for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 and would put children’s access to health insurance coverage in jeopardy. We urge you to reject the proposal and any attempt to reduce government spending on the backs of children’s health.
Support for the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018
The Consortium signed on to an organizational letter to Health Leaders of the Congressional Tri-Caucus in support of the Health Equity and Accountability Act of 2018.
The letter was sent to encourage members to cosponsor HEAA. You can find the final letter here.
Continued access to family planning in Colorado
By investing a small amount of state funds in a long-standing, effective program, we can:
•Support the health and well-being of women and their children by reducing unintended pregnancies,
•Empower women to attain their education goals, helping create financially secure and strong families,
•Lower the abortion rate, and
•Reduce the number of people who need to use Medicaid and other public assistance programs.
The Consortium signed with other organizations committed to improving the public’s health, expressing our serious concern about the most recent continuing resolution, which cut $750 million from the Prevention and Public Health Fund (Prevention Fund) and will put Americans at greater risk for illnesses, injuries and preventable deaths.
Read the Letter.
Letter presented to members of Congress, expressing our serious concerns with legislation being considered in Congress that would make significant changes to the tax code that could result in increased federal deficits and reduced resources to fund vital services, including public health services. 92 organizations dedicated to improving the public’s health signed on to the letter.
Letter asking for help responding to a problem affecting the health and well-being of Colorado’s immigrant communities.
Widespread reports indicate that immigrants are afraid to apply for or are asking to be removed from critical programs for which they or their family members are eligible. Immigrant families are concerned that personal information provided to public benefit agencies could be used to enforce federal immigration laws. This fear deprives immigrants and U.S. citizen children of vital health, nutrition, income support, and childcare benefits.
Letter urging a “No” vote on Graham-Cassidy - Save Medicaid in the Schools Coalition
This week, The Consortium has signed on in support of a letter to Congressional leaders; Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer, joining together with other national, state, and local organizations as members of the Save Medicaid in the Schools Coalition. Specifically, Graham-Cassidy reneges on Medicaid’s 50+ year commitment to provide America’s children with access to vital healthcare services that ensure they have adequate educational opportunities and can contribute to society by imposing a per-capita cap and shifting current and future costs to taxpayers in every state and Congressional district. While children currently comprise almost half of all Medicaid beneficiaries, less than one in five dollars is spent by Medicaid on children. Accordingly, a per-capita cap, even one that is based on different groups of beneficiaries, will disproportionately harm children’s access to care, including services received at school.
A coalition sign on letter that was delivered to the Colorado Congressional delegation, urging their attention to and support of CHIP funding. In this morning’s Senate Finance Committee hearing, Senator Bennet referenced the letter and asked that it be entered into the record. More than 75 individuals and organizations signed on to the letter.
Support of CDC and HRSA Funding
33 organizations signed on to letter urging the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee to provide $7.8 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and $7.48 billion for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in the FY 2018 Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill. We are concerned about the overall level of proposed budget reductions for public health programs in the FY 2018 House LHHS appropriations bill and strongly encourage you to provide sustained, increased, and predictable funding to build capacity for public health programs that work every day to protect, improve, and keep all Americans healthy.
Group letter to House and Senate appropriators in support of FY18 funding for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH). Since FY 2010, the CDC National Center for Environmental Health budget has been drastically cut and has still not been fully restored ($187.118 million in FY 2010 versus $180.750 million in FY 2017).
Letters in support of funding newborn screenings:
The Consortium has signed on in support of letters to Congressional leaders on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Joining other national, state, and local organizations; we are urging them to reject cuts to federal newborn screening programs.
Newborn screening is one of our nation’s most successful public health programs. Each year, nearly every one of the approximately 4 million infants born in the United States is screened for certain genetic, metabolic, hormonal and/or functional conditions. If left untreated, these conditions can cause disability, developmental delay, serious illness, and even death. The early detection afforded by newborn screening ensures that infants who test positive for a screened condition receive prompt treatment, saving or improving the lives of more than 12,000 infants each year.
Letter urging a “No” vote on The Better Care Reconciliation Act - Save Medicaid in the Schools Coalition
This week, The Consortium has signed on in support of a letter to Congressional leaders; Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer, joining together with other national, state, and local organizations as members of the Save Medicaid in the Schools Coalition. Schools are often the hub of the community, and converting Medicaid’s financing structure to per-capita caps threatens to significantly reduce access to comprehensive health and mental and behavioral health care for children with disabilities and those living in poverty.
Letter to Senator Bennet and Senator Gardner
The Consortium signed on in support of letters to Colorado Senators Bennet and Gardner:
We request that our Senators consider Colorado’s rural communities and urge careful review and evaluation of any healthcare policies First, given our unique state budgetary constraints, Colorado is particularly vulnerable to changes in federal policy that shift financial responsibility to state budgets. The Colorado Health Institute’s analysis of the U.S. House version of the American Health Care Act shows that Colorado would lose $14 billion in federal funding over 10 years. That is a loss of federal funding that would devastate our state’s budget – not just in health care, but in other priority areas such as education and transportation. We request that they not support policies that shift financial responsibility to the states without adequate and sustained federal funding.
Letter urging Senate leaders not to repeal the Prevention and Public Health Fund
The Consortium signed on in support of a letter to Congressional leaders; Leader McConnell and Minority Leader Schumer, with over 580 organizations, warning of the dire consequences of repealing the Prevention and Public Health Fund (the Prevention Fund), which is repealed by the Better Care Reconciliation Act (H.R. 1628) at the start of FY 2018. Repealing the Prevention Fund without a corresponding increase in the allocation for the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education appropriations bill would leave a funding gap for essential public health programs, and could also foretell substantial cuts for other critical programs funded in the bill.
Letter urging CHIP funding extension:
The Consortium signed on in support of a letter urging congress to enact a long-term funding extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). CHIP funding is currently set to expire on September 30, 2017. Swift action on a CHIP funding extension bill would provide much-needed certainty to states and families and ensure that health coverage for the 8.9 million children who rely on CHIP will not be disrupted.
Read the letter here.
Letter urging a “No” vote on The American Health Care Act - Save Medicaid in the Schools Coalition
The Consortium has signed on in support of a letter to Congressional leaders: Leader McConnell, Speaker Ryan, Minority Leader Schumer, and Minority Leader Pelosi; joining together with other national, state, and local organizations as members of the Save Medicaid in the Schools Coalition.
The American Health Care Act (AHCA) jeopardizes health care for the nation’s most vulnerable children: students with disabilities and students in poverty. Specifically, the AHCA reneges on Medicaid’s 50+ year commitment to provide America’s children with access to vital healthcare services that ensure they have adequate educational opportunities and can contribute to society by imposing a per-capita cap and shifting current and future costs to taxpayers in every state and Congressional district. While children currently comprise almost half of all Medicaid beneficiaries, less than one in five dollars is spent by Medicaid on children. Accordingly, a per-capita cap, even one that is based on different groups of beneficiaries, will disproportionately harm children’s access to care, including services received at school.
Healthy Kids Colorado Survey
Thousands of students from middle schools and high schools across the state confidentially and voluntarily fill out the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey to help us better identify trends in student health.
The Consortium signed on to a letter with a coalition of organizations asking the JBC to vote to preserve funding that supports this vital survey.
Teens who have a trusted adult to go to for help with a serious problem are 3.5 times less likely to attempt suicide. But without the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey(HKCS), there would be no way of knowing that less than three of four (71.3 percent) Colorado high schoolers report having an adult that fills that role. There would also be no way of knowing the rates of bullying and sexual violence experienced by Colorado’s students, or of knowing where marijuana use among teens is highest now that retail sales are legal in the state.
Letter urging consideration of unintended consequences and “DO NO HARM”
Last week, The Consortium signed on in support of a letter from the Children’s Defense Fund to Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Chuck Schumer and Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan); joining together with other national, state, and local organizations dedicated to improving the well-being of children. 22 Colorado agencies signed on.
To meet the “do no harm standard” for children, we stand united in urging you and the full Congress to:
Preserve and protect Medicaid’s funding structure that guarantees poor and low-income children and children with disabilities coverage for the services and treatment they need to survive and thrive.
Protect the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and continue coverage for low-income parents.
Letter urging urge a ‘no” vote on The American Health Care Act (AHCA)- Save Medicaid in the Schools Coalition
The Consortium has signed on in support of a letter to Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Chuck Schumer and Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan; joining together with other national, state, and local organizations as members of the Save Medicaid in the Schools Coalition.
School districts would stand to lose much of their funding for Medicaid under the AHCA. Schools currently receive roughly $4 billion in Medicaid reimbursements each year. Yet under this proposal, states would no longer have to consider schools as eligible Medicaid providers, which would mean that districts would have the same obligation to provide services for students with disabilities under IDEA, but no Medicaid dollars to provide medically-necessary services. Schools would be unable to provide EPSDT to students, which would mean screenings and treatment that take place in school settings would have to be moved to physician offices or hospital emergency rooms, where some families may not visit regularly or where costs are much higher.
Read the full letter.
The Consortium has signed on in support of a letter to Congressman Greg Walden and Congressman Frank Pallone (House Energy and Commerce Committee); joining together with other national, state, and local organizations as members of the Save Medicaid in the Schools Coalition. A per capita cap system will undermine states’ ability to provide America’s neediest children access to vital health care that ensures they have adequate educational opportunities and can contribute to society. Medicaid is a cost-effective and efficient funder of essential health care services for children. In fact, while children comprise almost half of Medicaid beneficiaries, less than one in five dollars spent by Medicaid is consumed by children. Accordingly, a per capita cap, even one that is based on different groups of beneficiaries, will disproportionately harm children’s access to care, including services received at school. Considering these unintended consequences, we urge a ‘no” vote on The American Health Care Act.
Read the full letter here.
Letter in support of the Hygiene Assistance for Infants and Toddlers Act of 2017
The Consortium has signed on in support of a letter to Congressman Ellison and Congresswoman DeLauro; joining together with other national, state, and local organizations in support of families that have a hard time covering the cost of basic needs, including diapers for their young children. Nearly half of infants and toddlers in the U.S. are living in low-income families. According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in 2014 the poorest 20 percent of families spend 14 percent of their income on diapers. The National Diaper Bank Network estimates that overall, 1 in 3 families struggle with diaper need. Read the full letter here.
The Future of Medicaid
Letter to Governor Hickenlooper: Response to Senators’ Letter of January 19, 2017
The Consortium has signed on in support of a letter to Governor John Hickenlooper on February 10, 2017; joining together with other organizations in an effort to address future of Medicaid and Medicaid in the schools.
“Medicaid brings economic benefits to Colorado by holding down costs and countering the upward trend in commercial healthcare costs, by bringing federal dollars to underserved rural and urban communities, and by bringing well-paying jobs in the medical, health technology and information technology sectors, all of which are vital to Colorado's economic health.” Read the full letter here.
The Consortium has signed on in support of letters to Members of the Subcommittee on Health and The House Energy and Commerce Committee; joining together with other organizations in an effort to address future of Medicaid.
"We are deeply concerned that critical services and professionals in school will be reduced or eliminated if proposals to refinance Medicaid are advanced. A per capita cap or attempt to shift Medicaid costs to states will undermine the entitlement of America’s neediest children to access vital healthcare that ensures they have adequate educational opportunities and contribute to society. Given that children comprise less than 50% of Medicaid beneficiaries, but only about 19 percent of the costs for Medicaid, current proposals to cap or limit state funding are misguided and threaten to disproportionately harm children’s access to care."
Please review the letters for more information:
Medicaid Oversight: Existing Problems and Ways to Strengthen the Program - House Energy and Commerce Committee
Hearing on Strengthening Medicaid and Prioritizing the Most Vulnerable - Subcommittee on Health
The Future of Health Care Policy
A coalition has assembled in order to help proactively position Colorado to influence the upcoming federal conversation about the future of health care policy.
Colorado Health Policy Coalition
The Colorado Health Policy Coalition is a broad and diverse group of stakeholders dedicated to proactively positioning Colorado to shape the federal conversation about the future of health care in America.
We are calling on Congress to:
• Repeal the Affordable Care Act only with a clearly identifed and carefully considered replacement plan outlined.
• Take a comprehensive, coordinated approach and reject piecemeal changes that could have negative consequences.
• Find a non-partisan path forward.
100 + groups from 64 counties business, health care provider, consumer, disability and advocacy groups from across the political spectrum
We have signed on in support of a letter to Governor John Hickenlooper and Commissioner Salazar regarding Health Principles; joining together with other organizations in a bipartisan effort to address future health care policy and principles. Please review the letter for more information and a list of Members of the Colorado Health Policy Coalition.
Please also review Gov. Hickenlooper’s response regarding the "McCarthy Letter" from December 2nd, the Affordable Care Act, and what it means to the people of Colorado.
The Future of Child Health Plan Plus
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 extended federal financing for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through September 30, 2017. It is unclear whether or not Congress will consider extending federal financing beyond 2017. As a member of All Kids Covered we have signed our name in support of addressing policy options regarding future funding. You can read the letter here.
The Department has started to consider options to ensure that members of Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), Colorado's CHIP program, will have access to comparable sources of physical, dental and behavioral health coverage in the event that federal funding is discontinued.
The Department recently held a public meeting to discuss options and to receive stakeholder feedback. The July 21 stakeholder meeting audio recording and presentation is available for anyone who was unable to attend.
For more information, contactHCPF_CHPPlusFuture@state.co.us.
Colorado Child Care Assistance Program
We have signed our name in support of HB 16-1227: Colorado Child Care Assistance Program. This legislation proposes an exemption for teen moms and domestic violence survivors from the child support engagement requirement as a condition of receiving CCCAP.
This well-intended requirement has made the program often inaccessible to parents and their children at a sensitive time in their lives. An exemption only for teen parents and domestic violence survivors of all ages would maintain the requirement for the vast majority of participants in the program while permitting those at one of the most sensitive periods in their lives still have a path to self-sufficiency. More information.
Hygiene Assistance for Families of Infants and Toddlers Act of 2015
We have signed on to support the Hygiene Assistance for Families of Infants and Toddlers Act of 2015.
Nearly half of infants and toddlers in the United States are living in low-income families. This means that over 5 million young children are living in families that have a hard time covering the cost of their family’s basic needs, including diapers for their young children.
The Hygiene Assistance for Families of Infants and Toddlers Act would address diaper need in the United States by creating a demonstration program for distributing diapers to eligible families. States will have flexibility in developing and implementing their program. These demonstrations will reveal the best ways to help eligible families access diapers for their young children.
Health Insurance for Former Foster Youth Act of 2015
The Consortium has signed a letter in support of the Health Insurance for Former Foster Youth Act of 2015. The legislation proposed closing a loophole to guarantee that foster youth will still receive health insurance through Medicaid until they turn 26 years old, regardless of their state of residence. More than 145 organizations from all over the country representing diverse coalitions and issues have signed on in support of the bill.
Care Coordination Available
Members of Health First Colorado (Colorado's Medicaid program) have access to a regional organization which helps to connect you to needed health care. Medicaid enrolled students and their families are entitled to free care coordination through their local Regional Care Collaborative Organization (RCCO). Care coordination makes it easier for students to receive proper and effective care. Please see the RCCO webpage to find out which RCCO covers your area.
If you know of a student who needs care coordination, direct them and their family to the appropriate RCCO. From finding the right doctor, to finding community resources, RCCO care managers can help!
To learn more about care coordination or if you have questions, visit the RCCO webpage or contact Health First Colorado Enrollment at 303-839-2120, 1-888-367-6557 (outside Denver) .