COLORADO: Coalition To Tackle Uninsurance Problem
A new, broad-based coalition of Colorado health care providers, state agencies, legislators, insurers, nonprofit foundations and business representatives hopes to bring health insurance to the state's 580,000 uninsured residents by the year 2007. The Rocky Mountain News reports that the Coalition for the Medically Underserved "unveiled its goals Thursday morning at the offices of the Colorado Trust in Denver." The coalition seeks to broaden state and federal programs, such as Colorado's new Kiddiecare program, "to reach a larger number of families." They also will work to "streamline government bureaucracy, which often can deter uninsured individuals from applying for public programs." Coalition Chair Dr. Gary VanderArk said, "About 20% of the children who are eligible for [Medicaid] in Colorado don't sign up because it's a hassle." The group also wants to develop a central computer system to determine eligibility for various government programs, work with employers to ensure that more working Coloradans are insured and "change tax policy to make purchasing insurance more attractive." The coalition hopes to finance its initiatives through federal and state funds, private foundations and public/private partnerships. VanderArk noted, "There was great emphasis on money being used from the tobacco settlement to focus on children's health care issues." Lynn Dierker of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Colorado said, "Whether we'll make it by 2007, I don't know. But if we don't set up these kind of rigorous channels, we won't keep it on the radar screen" (Gonzalez, 12/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.