So far, no action from Colorado lawmakers on expanding the state's Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. It's expected that a bill will be introduced this month, expanding the coverage to people making about $15,000 a year. Governor John Hickenlooper said earlier this year he supports the expansion.
Angela Cortez with AARP Colorado says expanding Medicaid will actually help all Coloradans.
"This will give people without insurance access to preventive care," according to Cortez. "That can save lives and ease dangerous and expensive emergency room overcrowding that actually hurts all of us."
However, some Colorado lawmakers are worried about the cost of the expansion, which would be covered in full for the first three years and partially for the next decade under the Affordable Care Act. Colorado Republican State Senator David Balmer has introduced a bill that would prohibit reducing funding to K-12 education in order to pay for the Medicaid expansion once the federal funds run out.
The Colorado Hospital Association says hospitals provided more than $1.4 billion in uncompensated care in 2011.
Cortez says that could change with Medicaid expansion.
"This can expand to thousands of people; we're talking about thousands of people who could be covered."
A recent study by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy estimates 122,000 Coloradans could qualify for health coverage under Medicaid expansion.
Information about Colorado's Medicaid expansion is at colorado.gov.