By Gretchen Hammer, Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved
This month, All Kids Covered released Crossing the Finish
Line: Achieving Meaningful Health Care Coverage and Access for All Children in
Colorado. The report provides an
update on the current status of meaningful health care coverage and access for
children in Colorado, and describes the significant progress we have made to
make sure that all our children can get the health coverage and health care
services they need.
The good news is that roughly 90% of kids in Colorado
have health insurance and between 2008 – 2010 over 40,000 children gained
coverage. In addition, the most
recent Colorado Health Access survey reports that most of children in Colorado
have a usual source of care – a place where they regularly go to get their health
Cue the Kool and the Gang music, start the disco ball and
break out your best dance moves! Let’s take a moment to celebrate these great
As with any great success, many people have contributed
to this progress. Over the last five
years, state policymakers, state and local agencies, community leaders, health
care providers, advocates and private foundations have worked together with a
common goal and concerted effort to achieve these milestones.
While recognizing and celebrating success is important,
there is still more work to be done.
Much of that growth in coverage has come through higher enrollment in
Medicaid and CHP+, resulting from policy changes to improve public programs and
unfortunately, economic hardships facing many Colorado families which make them
eligible for these programs.
Additionally, the most recent estimates suggest that
between 112,200 (8.2%) and 124,128 (10.1%) children in Colorado still do not
have health insurance. And,
access to care varies across the state.
While fewer than 5% of children in the metro area, the Eastern Plains
and Northwest Colorado report they do not have a usual source of care, nearly 1
in 13 children (7.6%) in Southwest Colorado do not have a usual source of
care. And that’s too many!
It is not too much to ask that all of Colorado’s kids
have access to they health care they need, when they need it. To build on the strong momentum of the
last few years we need to focus on five key strategies that we believe will
continue the progress in Colorado and would likely be useful in other states,
– Leadership and Accountability
– Coverage and Access for All Children
– Systems and Practices for Maximizing Enrollment and
– Messaging and Communications
– Regional Adaptation
Check out the report for more details on these strategies
and examples of how to implement them from Colorado and across the country.
Colorado is 90% of the way there to crossing the finish
line and covering all kids. It is
going to take all of us working together to ensure that our children will have
the health coverage and health care services they need to have healthy and
fulfilling lives. And, once
we get there, we can really get the party started!
To access the full report, visit www.allkidscoveredcolorado.org/report.pdf