Gov. John Hickenlooper vetoed his first bill today – Senate Bill 213, that would add premiums to the Child Health Plan Plus program.
“Expecting low-income families in Colorado to contribute when it comes to providing for, and placing a priority upon, their health care, makes sense,” Hickenlooper wrote in a letter to the General Assembly. “What is troubling about this legislation, however, is not the policy intent, but the practical, and negative impact, it will have on children in low-income families.”
Hickenlooper pledged to work with the Joint Budget Committee and the General Assembly to develop a better approach to changes in the Child Health Plan Plus program.
He said the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing will increase the annual enrollment fee through their regular, rule-making process and conduct a comprehensive analysis of cost-sharing in the program. The department will evaluate changes in the program this summer and fall and deliver recommendations to the Joint Budget Committee on or before Nov. 1, 2011.
“The focus will be to implement a change that is minimally disruptive, administratively efficient, effective and elegant, and supports the goal of ensuring that kids have access to coverage,” Hickenlooper wrote in the letter.
Numerous community groups, health organizations and individuals have urged Hickenlooper in recent weeks to veto SB 213. Those groups and organizations include: The Children’s Hospital; Colorado Children’s Campaign; Colorado Medical Society; Denver Health Medical Center; Health District of Northern Larimer County; Kaiser; Mental Health America of Colorado; Pathways Past Poverty; Rocky Mountain Health Plan; Women’s Lobby of Colorado; United Way of Larimer County; All Kids Covered; Colorado Academy of Family Physicians; Colorado Community Health Network; and Junior League of Denver.