Denver, CO – Yesterday, House Bill 22-1289, also known as Cover All Coloradans (HB22-1289), sponsored by Representative Gonzales-Gutierrez, Representative McCluskie, and Senator Moreno, was introduced. This piece of legislation would improve and expand health coverage options available to children and pregnant people, regardless of immigration status, while leveraging the use of federal dollars the state is currently leaving on the table.
“Inequitable access to health care is a matter of life and death. Access to health care should not be based on your immigration status or income. Expanding health care coverage to all children and pregnant and postpartum people, regardless of immigration status, is fundamental to correcting the root causes of health inequities in Colorado. Colorado has worked for decades, across party lines, to cover every child and ensure access to excellent prenatal and pregnancy-related care,” said Representative Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez.
In Colorado, fourteen percent of kids without insurance are ineligible for Medicaid or CHP+ because of their immigration status. Seventeen states cover undocumented pregnant people, and ten states and Washington, DC have already passed coverage expansions for undocumented youth, and are reaping the social, cultural, and financial benefits.
”I live with my family in Durango. One of my daughters, Isabel, has had some health problems and we have had to take her to the doctor. However, because she was not born in the United States, she has no access to health insurance and we have had to pay for everything out of pocket. We have already paid so much, and if something more serious were to happen, we could not afford it at all. I pray to God all the time that nothing happens because it could ruin us financially. I want my daughter to be healthy and receive all the necessary medical care she needs but not having health insurance makes that very difficult,” said Melissa, a mother of two in Durango.
Two major components of Cover All Coloradans (HB22-1289) will:
- Provide full health coverage for undocumented pregnant people up to Colorado’s CHP+ eligibility income limit, making Colorado the 18th state to provide coverage to those who would qualify for public insurance except for their immigration status.
- Provide coverage for all children in Colorado, regardless of immigration status, up to the CHP+ eligibility income limit.
“Having access to high-quality health care, especially during pregnancy, is critical to ensuring healthy outcomes for mothers and children. There are too many barriers to accessing affordable health care on the Western Slope and this makes it harder to keep and retain a viable workforce. Creating this pathway to access prenatal care will mean stronger families and stronger mountain and rural communities. This is good for all of us,” said Representative Julie McCluskie.
Efforts to expand access to health insurance in Colorado have reduced uninsured rates, but wide disparities still remain. Where there are a large number of uninsured people, there are inefficiencies in our health care systems. Expanding health care coverage to all kids, pregnant and postpartum people, regardless of immigration status, is fundamental to ensuring health equity in Colorado, allowing all parents and kids to thrive. Now it’s time for us to break down these barriers and close the gaps.