State mulls raising Medicaid copays to save funds

Colorado is considering co-payments for its Medicaid enrollees, one of several options it is weighing as it grapples with increasing costs to treat that population, reported the Denver Post.

Among the changes: raising co-payments for a hospital stay from $10 to $12 a day, and charging $1.30 for a generic drug refill compared to $1. However, that will not begin to cover projected future program costs.

The debate over hiking co-pays comes as lawmakers from both parties wrestle over the future of the program. Colorado's contribution to Medicaid is expected to rise 11 percent over the next year, with total expenditures exceeding $5 billion. Medicaid covers about one-third of all births in Colorado. And the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is expected to place about 15 percent of the entire state's population into Medicaid by 2017.

"We have an incredible number of unfunded mandates coming down from the federal government," state Rep. Cheri Gerou, a Republican and vice chair of the Joint Budget Committee, told the Denver Post. "We've basically lost all choice," regarding budget planning.

However, advocates for the poor note that forcing more costs onto their end leads to putting off care and even pricier hospitalizations.

To learn more:
- read the Denver Post article
- check out the Pueblo Chieftain article

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