Governor gives 'State of Health' update


DENVER — Gov. John Hickenlooper on Monday announced that significant progress has been made on The State of Health, the governor’s plan to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. The release of The State of Health Scorecard highlights the risk to this progress should the senate move forward with cuts to health programs.

“More Coloradans have access to quality health care than ever before and this coverage is improving the health of people across our state,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “The senate bill’s cuts to funding and coverage threaten our progress in all areas. We urge the senate to work with a bipartisan group of Governors to focus on problems we all agree need fixing.”

In 2013, Governor Hickenlooper released “The State of Health: Colorado’s Commitment to become the Healthiest State.” The plan set ambitious goals. Since launching, Colorado has completed most of the targets set by the plan, and in many cases, has gone beyond the initial goals. However, there is still more work to do, particularly regarding opioid abuse and obesity.

“Thanks to the collaborative work of Executive Directors Sue Birch, Reggie Bicha and Larry Wolk, the state has met 11 of the 15 goals articulated in the State of Health, improving the health and wellness of Coloradans,” said Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne. “But the senate bill takes us backward, cutting $1.5 billion annually from our Medicaid program and threatening health care coverage for hundreds of thousands of hard working Coloradans.  Being the healthiest state in the nation is a lofty goal, and the senate bill will make Coloradans sicker.”

The governor and lt. governor made the announcement at the Federico F. Peña Southwest Family Health Center, as it serves many patients who have benefited from coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act.

“We are happy to partner with the Governor’s office to improve the health of all Coloradans,” said Robin D. Wittenstein, EdD, FACHE, chief executive officer at Denver Health. “Since the ACA was enacted, many of our patients became eligible for insurance for the first time and we think anything that suggests eliminating health care coverage to approximately 22 million Americans is a step in the wrong direction.”