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Medicaid & Mental Health Expansions in Colorado Under Discussion

February 1st, 2013 – Yesterday a Senate committee discussed a Republican proposal to put conditions on the upcoming Medicaid expansion. In Colorado, Governor Hickenlooper is planning to implement the Medicaid expansion for Colorado’s low-income adults, as part of the federal Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare).

Governor John Hickenlooper said that Colorado can afford the expansion. The Republican bill would require that no education funds be used to pay for the expansion. The optional expansion of Medicaid is expected to take place in 2014.

Colorado lawmakers are also discussing expanding mandates to cover behavioral health and substance-abuse treatment is part of all health care coverage and make it easier for therapists to seek involuntary commitment. This is well intentioned and they hope that it could reduce gun violence, like what happened in Aurora and Sandy Hook.

The flip side is that as state and federal governments continue to add mandates for new benefits, it increases health insurance costs to consumers and businesses. Rising health insurance costs are driven by increasing health care costs and are increasingly blamed for eroding inflation adjusted take home pay for America’s work workforce.

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