Colorado Governor Jared Polis and his staff have been working on Colorado’s 2020 budget. Now is the time for Colorado Senior Lobby to take a deep look at the details so we understand the 2020 Legislative Session better. Here is a link to the documents:

At a first review, here are the topics that caught our attention:

Demographics – PAGE 396
“The State Demography Office indicates that Colorado’s population growth will continue at a rate faster than the nation as a whole. Despite declining birth rates, the state’s population is expected to exceed 8 million people by the year 2050 (currently approximately 5.7 million), with the number of older adults (65+) more than doubling. A growing, aging population impacts every department in the State, from Transportation to Natural Resources. As the population grows and ages, Colorado’s revenue growth will be offset by the demand for public benefits and services.”

Federal Policy Changes
“In FY 2019-20, approximately 27 percent of the State’s total appropriations were in the form of Federal Funds. Changes in federal policy, partnerships, and funding create uncertainty and drive programmatic impacts and budget needs across the State.”

Health Care Policy & Financing – PAGE 400
“The Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF) accounted for 33 percent of the total appropriations in FY 2019-20 and 69 percent of Federal Funds. The Department oversees and operates Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program), Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), and other public health care programs for Coloradans who qualify. A large majority of people enrolled in the Medicaid and CHP+ qualify for programs due to the income thresholds specified in federal law. For Medicaid, adults and children must have income below 133 percent of the federal poverty level and for CHP+, children and pregnant women must have an income below 260 percent of the federal poverty level to qualify. Changing caseloads and rising medical costs drive spending for the Department.”

“Several factors affect the growth of the Medicaid Program, including population growth and the economy, federal and state policies, the cost of healthcare and the age of recipients. In FY 2019-20, the estimated cost of providing a year of Medicaid services for a senior citizen is approximately $17,000, which is nearly 8 times greater than the cost to provide health care to a child. Additionally, according to the State Demographer, between 2018 and 2050, 75-84 years old expected to grow by 50 percent and 85 years and older will grow by 22 percent during the same duration. The expected large growth in the 65 and older population in the coming years will increase expenditure pressures in the program. As people age and spend down their resources, they become eligible for Medicaid. In addition, budgetary pressures for Medicaid are heightened by the fact that seniors only receive a 50 percent funding match from the federal government, unlike some other Medicaid populations that receive an enhanced federal match of as much as 90 percent. While the strong economy has reduced Medicaid caseload by 10 percent from its peak in 2017, it is masking budget pressures. Caseload is expected to rise over the next few years.”

“Additionally, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services predict that the cost of healthcare goods and services are projected to grow at a rate of 2.5 percent annually through 2027. Key trends in prescription drugs, hospital, physical, and clinic services costs drive overall program costs. The Department anticipates rates will need to increase to keep pace with medical costs.”

Please take a deeper dive into the budget document than I did and send us an email on what you read that is important to you.

Robert Brocker
President – Colorado Senior Lobby