Last week I wrote about the poor results – specifically for children – on the Colorado Health Report Card. Governor Ritter has issued an explanation about the poor results, detailing how the numbers used in the report card are largely outdated (from 2007), and that many improvements have since been made in terms of the health of Colorado children. It’s true that if you read the details about how the report card was compiled, they note that many changes have been made since 2007 that will likely have a positive impact as time goes by. Banning the sale of soft drinks in schools (effective last summer) will help with childhood obesity, and access to health insurance and health care will likely improve thanks to initiatives that were passed over the last couple of years. As Governor Ritter pointed out, these programs don’t work miracles overnight.
What the report card basically shows is that things went downhill between 2003 and 2007. Colorado was 3rd in the nation for childhood obesity in 2003, and 23rd in 2007. It remains to be seen what effect recently-implemented programs will have on this number, but hopefully when the report card is issued with 2010 data a few years from now, we’ll have moved back into a higher ranking.
Governor Ritter signed an executive order last week that will make the application process for Medicaid and Children’s Health Plan Plus (CHP+) easier by implementing electronic data-sharing programs among state agencies. There are still lots of children in Colorado who qualify for state-funded health insurance but continue to be uninsured. There are plenty of reasons for this, including a sometimes complicated application process and parents who are unaware of what programs are available. Anything that simplifies and automates the process is bound to result in more children being covered by some sort of health insurance. I’m hopeful that the next Colorado Health Report Card will show a big improvement across the board, but especially in the area of children’s health.