This short clip from Colorado Public News is well worth watching. It’s only a few minutes long but highlights the need for Medicaid among families who rely on the program, the controversy surrounding the expansion of Medicaid, and the impact that the recession has had on Medicaid enrollment in Colorado over the past few years.
The video notes that Colorado has experienced a 55% increase in Medicaid enrollment since 2007. This is likely due in large part to the recession, but Colorado has also taken active steps to expand access to public health insurance programs like Medicaid in recent years, and it’s reasonable to assume that this is driving some of the increase in enrollment.
In mid 2010 (just before the end of the fiscal year), Colorado had to delay Medicaid reimbursements to providers for a couple of weeks due to budget shortfalls. The financial risks faced by the Medicaid program were likely helped by the $13.7 million grant that Colorado received at the end of last year from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, but the program is still quite strapped and lawmakers (including Colorado Senator Kevin Lundberg, who is featured in the CPN video) have suggested that Medicaid is a good place to make budget cuts. The CPN video also includes Colorado Senator (and physician) Irene Aguilar who takes the opposite position, saying “I still believe that as a country we’re above that and we’re not going to just let people die on the streets.”
Whatever your views on the matter, the clip from CPN is an interesting few minutes.