Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) has vetoed a bill raising premium rates for the state’s child health insurance plan, saying it would leave too many children without insurance.
State legislators passed the bill, which would raise insurance fees for families making between 205 percent and 250 percent of the federal poverty level to $50 per month. Hickenlooper vetoed it Tuesday, saying it would force up to 2,500 children off the Child Health Plan Plus program.
“Expecting low-income families in Colorado to contribute when it comes to providing for, and placing a priority upon, their health care, makes sense,” Hickenlooper wrote in a letter to the General Assembly. “What is troubling about the legislation, however is not the policy intent, but the practical and negative impact, it will have on children in low-income families.”
Republicans in the legislature say the measure was a bipartisan effort to reform the state’s welfare system.
Hickenlooper said the state health department will instead continue to increase the annual enrollment fee through the regular rule-making process. The department will evaluate changes in the program this summer and fall and deliver recommendations to the Joint Budget Committee by November 1.