February 25, 2015 — A Colorado House committee on Tuesday voted 8-5 to advance a bill (HB 15-1194) that would use $5 million from the state's general fund to continue a program that helps improve access to long-acting reversible contraceptives among low-income women, the Denver Post reports.
According to the Post, the state House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee passed the measure with bipartisan support. The bill now heads to the state House Appropriations Committee, where it will receive a second hearing (Bunch, Denver Post, 2/24).
The Colorado Family Planning Initiative offers no- or low-cost long-acting reversible contraceptives, such as intrauterine devices and hormonal implants, to low-income women at 68 clinics throughout the state. The initiative was established as a five-year pilot program through a $25 million private donation. To continue, the program needs $5 million in state funding, which must come from a stand-alone bill rather than the state budget because of a Colorado law prohibiting state money from back-filling initiatives launched with private funding.
The initiative has provided more than 30,000 IUDs and other LARC methods to low-income, uninsured or underinsured Colorado women.
Since the initiative began, the state's teen birth rate has decreased by 40% (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/27). In addition, the abortion rate among teens has decreased by 34%, according to Larry Wolk, Colorado's chief medical officer and executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (Denver Post, 2/24).
Further, in that period, the state has saved about $23 million from averted Medicaid costs associated with birth. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment officials have predicted the program could save the state up to $40 million in Medicaid costs that would otherwise go toward pre- and postnatal care (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/27).