April 16, 2015 — A Colorado budget committee on Tuesday rejected a $5 million budget provision that would continue a family planning program in the state, the Denver Post's "The Spot" reports.
The program's funding is slated to expire June 30 (Frank, "The Spot," Denver Post, 4/14).
The program, 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.
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 has saved about $23 million from averted Medicaid costs associated with births. 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, 4/13).
The state Joint Budget Committee voted 3-3 to reject the funding provision.
According to "The Spot," the committee is tasked with resolving the differences between the state House and Senate budget proposals. Each budget item must garner approval from a majority of the committee ("The Spot," Denver Post, 4/14).
The state House earlier this month had voted 35-30 to include the funding provision in its budget proposal after it became apparent that the state Senate would not advance a stand-alone funding bill for the program (HB 15-1194) (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/13). According to "The Spot," the state House is expected to vote on the stand-alone bill next week, but some conservative Senate leaders are still opposed to the measure.
On Tuesday, Larry Wolk, executive director and CMO at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said he "didn't think it was going to be that easy" to include the provision in the budget. However, he said the state administration remains in support of the measure, adding, "I'm an optimist and we are not giving up" ("The Spot," Denver Post, 4/14).