It goes without saying the 2020 legislative session in Colorado, like all across the country, was unpredictable and unprecedented due to COVID-19. Thanks to strong legislative leadership and an incredible community of advocacy partners however, there were still many victories for Coloradans living with chronic conditions.
SB20-030 – Consumer Protections for Utility Customers: Concerning increased consumer protections for customers of investor-owned utilities, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. The CCC thanks Senate President Garcia, Sen. Rodriguez, and Rep. Esgar for sponsoring this bill, which the CCC supported and testified in the House Transportation and Energy Committee. SB20-030 raises the income threshold for eligibility for a medical exemption from tiered electricity rates from 250% of the federal poverty level (FPL) to 400% of the FPL. The CCC administers the Colorado Medical Exemption Program (CMEP) on behalf of Xcel Energy and Black Hills Energy and are pleased that more people will now qualify for this important energy assistance program.
SB20-163 – School Entry Immunization: Concerning the modernization of the school entry immunization process, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. The CCC supported this bill and joined a broad coalition called Colorado Vaccinates and thanks the bill sponsors Rep. Mullica, Rep. Roberts, Sen. Priola, and Sen. Gonzales.
SB20-212 – Reimbursement For Telehealth Services: Concerning reimbursement for health care services provided through telehealth, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. This bill will help make permanent some of the COVID-19 public health orders related to telehealth. The CCC was one of several advocacy organizations involved in stakeholder meetings with the Division of Insurance leading up to this bill. The CCC thanks bill sponsors Sen. Winter, Sen. Tate, Rep. Soper, and Rep. Lontine.
SB20-215 – Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise – This legislation will create an enterprise to capture fees already being paid by insurance carriers and direct them where they’ll do the most good for consumers. Without impacting the state budget it will:
- Make ongoing funding available for Colorado’s successful reinsurance program;
- Make insurance more affordable for individual-market consumers that don’t benefit from reinsurance, namely lower income Coloradans that receive federal subsidies under the ACA;
- Create affordable health insurance options for people left out of the Affordable Care Act, including individuals in the “family glitch” and people excluded from coverage because of their immigration status.
The CCC supported SB20-215 and thanks many community partners who spearheaded this late bill including Colorado Consumer Health Initative, Colorado Center for Law and Policy and the Children’s Campaign. Thank you to bill sponsors Sen. Moreno, Sen. Donovan, Rep. Kennedy and Rep. McClusky. Seeking board members!
HB20-1232 – Equity in Access to Clinical Trials in Medicaid: Concerning equity in access to clinical trials for individuals enrolled in the medical assistance program. In 2009, the CCC supported Representative Primavera’s bill to increase access to clinical trials. The CCC supported this bill and testified in the House Health and Insurance Committee. This model legislation which was originally focused on cancer, was broadened to include many other serious diseases so more people can experience the hope and treatment options provided by clinical trials. HB20-1232 will eliminate barriers to participating in clinical trials for patients on Medicaid, by covering routine costs while they are in the trial, such as doctors appointments and lab tests. These routine costs are required already to be covered in the private market and in Medicare. Thank you to the Colorado Cancer Caucus for working closely with patients and providers on this bill and to the sponsors Sen. Todd, Rep. Michaelson Jenet, and Rep. Liston.
HB20-1236 – Health Care Coverage Easy Enrollment Program. The bill creates the Colorado affordable health care coverage easy enrollment program for the purpose of leveraging the tax filing process to connect uninsured Coloradans to free or subsidized health care coverage. The program will allow Coloradans to ask on their state income tax returns for the Colorado health benefit exchange to assess whether uninsured household members are potentially eligible for free or subsidized health care coverage. If the tax filer requests that the eligibility of uninsured household members be assessed under the program, the tax filer will receive information about coverage options and assistance with enrollment. The CCC supported HB20-1236 and thanks the Colorado Center for Law and Policy and bill sponsors Rep. Lontine, Rep. Will, Sen. Tate, and Sen. Bridges. Seeking board members!
HB20-1420 – Adjust Tax Expenditures For State Education Fund: Concerning the adjustment of certain state tax expenditures in order to allocate additional revenues to the state education fund, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation. The CCC joined a very broad coalition of supporters who recognized the need for more revenue to help offset the huge budget hole largely due to COVID-19. Thank you to sponsors Rep. Sirota, Rep. Gray, Sen. Moreno, and Sen. Hansen.