CMS clears way for Medicaid expansion

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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.



2 Responses to CMS clears way for Medicaid expansion

  1. I hope Gov. Hickenlooper does not commit taxpayers of Colorado to this unwarranted expansion of unsustainable program. Federal funding is only good for the first two years, then Colorado taxpayers will have to foot the bill.

    December 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm

  2. I believe that Gov. Hickenlooper will stand by Colorado’s full participation in the Affordable Care Act.
    According to the Colorado Health Institute’s analysis, the ACA (Affordable Care Act) expansion of Medicaid to 133% poverty level will be paid 100% by the federal government from 2014 to 2016, and then the cost to states tiers up by a small percentage annually to the states:
    *95% federal cost coverage in 2017
    *94% federal cost coverage in 2018
    *93% federal cost coverage in 2019
    *90% federal cost coverage in 2020
    There is so much to the cost and benefit and tax liability analysis, but there is some good info at:

    Of course, federal costs are also taxpayer money — but my opinion is that having an affordable, fair, and better healthcare system is imperative to our nation’s well-being.

    shawna kemppainen
    December 11, 2012 at 5:14 pm