New regulations from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provide details about Medicaid expansions in the states – good news for low-income Colorado residents.
CMS said states that expand health care through improvements to Medicaid must extend services to everyone who makes 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. The Supreme Court ruling earlier this year had created some uncertainty about how to implement parts of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.
“This decision clears the way for Colorado to fully implement the Affordable Care Act,” said Elisabeth Arenales, the director of the Health Care Program at the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.
Medicaid is a partnership between the state and federal governments that provides health care to 661,000 low-income children, disabled and elderly Coloradans. The most significant remaining issue about health reform in Colorado is whether the state should comply with federal law and provide health care through Medicaid to more Coloradans.
The Supreme Court, while upholding the major parts of Obamacare, left it up to the states whether or not to expand Medicaid to 133 percent of the poverty level. It was uncertain if CMS would even allow the expansion after the Supreme Court decision.
Now, the decision rests with Gov. John Hickenlooper at the Colorado Department of Health Policy and Finance. If the state does expand Medicaid coverage, then it will be eligible for additional federal money to assist with low-income health care needs.
“We hope policymakers will make the right decision and fully implement health reform so that by 2014 low-income Coloradans will have access to quality, affordable health care,” Arenales said.