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LTTE: Bill HB24-1322 opens door for more Colorado Medicaid members

LTTE%3A+Bill+HB24-1322+opens+door+for+more+Colorado+Medicaid+members
Collegian | Trin Bonner

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board. Letters to the Editor reflect the view of a member of the campus community and are submitted to the publication for approval.

A significant number of local individuals and families need your support to get behind HB24-1322, a bill that will allow Medicaid to cover housing and nutrition services. Far too many Coloradans are on the verge of homelessness or cannot get the food they need to stay healthy.

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In Fort Collins alone, the Homeless Management Information System reported that in quarter four of 2023, the total number of people enrolled in supportive programs was 2,484. The total number of chronically unhoused persons during this same time frame was 530. While 2,484 people are participating in some type of assistance program, these benefits are not guaranteed or long-term programs. Our unhoused populations still need more long-term help.

HB24-1322 directs the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing to conduct a feasibility study. This study would determine how Medicaid could pay for temporary housing and rent and utility services as well as eviction prevention and tenant support. This study would also look into how Medicaid could fund nutrition services such as pantry stocking and nutrition prescriptions.

Not only would this bill save Coloradans money; it would also prevent further criminal justice involvement and homelessness. The fact is that HB24-1322 will be funded by money already spent on housing and nutrition supports via a 1115 Medicaid waiver. HB24-1322 further saves money through reduced reliance on local and state services. Not only is it proven that supportive housing and nutrition reduce system reliance, but it is also proven that future crime and homelessness are reduced when people are taken care of.

This bill is also supported by many organizations whose focus is on the well-being of Colorado residents. Some of these advocates include the Colorado Behavioral Healthcare Council, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and the Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger. While issues like these seem like common sense to get behind for our community, we all know that funding, politics and lack of empathy get in the way of many of these bills passing.

Please show your support for HB24-1322 by taking action and contacting your Colorado House representative. Ask them to prioritize funding for this important bill, which will help many Medicaid members live healthier lives in our Colorado communities. Fort Collins representatives are Andrew Boesenecker and Cathy Kipp. 

Thank you all so much for your time and support!

Jared Mannering

Graduate student at Colorado State University

Send letters to letters@collegian.com. When submitting letters, please abide by the guidelines listed at collegian.com.

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About the Contributor
Trin Bonner
Trin Bonner, Illustration Director
Trin Bonner is the illustration director for The Collegian newspaper. This will be her third year in this position, and she loves being a part of the creative and amazing design team at The Collegian. As the illustration director, Bonner provides creative insight and ideas that bring the newspaper the best graphics and illustrations possible. She loves working with artists to develop fun and unique illustrations every week for the readers. Bonner is a fourth-year at Colorado State University studying electronic arts. She loves illustrating and comic making and has recently found enjoyment in experimental video, pottery and graphic design. Outside of illustration and electronic art, Bonner spends her free time crocheting and bead making. She is usually working on a blanket or making jewelry when she is not drawing, illustrating or brainstorming.

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