DISCUSSION OF THREE PRINCIPAL QUESTIONS
INTERIM COMMISSION TO STUDY FISCAL STABILITY
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09:51 AM -- Discussion of Three Principal Questions
Director Henneberry addressed the consequences of the current budget cuts. These include reducing some provider fees and modifying some benefits. In order to address the minimum funding needed to maintain the department's current level of service, the director responded that the department is already at a deficit in providing needed assistance. The department's goal is to cover an estimated 300,000 additional Coloradans; however, current resources only allow coverage of 100,000 to 150,000 of these potential clients.
Senator Morse asked for a thumbnail sketch of how people qualify for Medicaid. The director answered that this is a complicated formula based on both federal and state requirements. The core criteria is family size and income. These criteria are defined at the federal level each year, and the state must cover clients based on this categorization, at a minimum, to draw down federal matching dollars. There is a policy goal at the national level to simplify these formulas and to create a national model that can be used uniformly. Senator Morse pointed out that we cover children, the disabled, and the elderly, but that working adults are frequently left out. Director Henneberry remarked that there is variation among the states as to how many working adults, or adults without dependents, can obtain eligibility. States can obtain a waiver to serve some of these populations but do so without the federal match. In Colorado, some state programs help to cover provider costs when they serve uninsured patients.
Representative Court asked if there is data from other states that insure adults in addition to children? She asked if the data demonstrates that investing in the family has better overall results? Director Henneberry answered that there is good evidence supporting this conclusion.