Forty days and more than 400 bills and resolutions — what’s next?
Colorado is officially one-third of the way through the 74th Colorado General Assembly. While there has been no specific legislation introduced related to oral health, there are a number of bills that address significant social determinants of health and access to care that will ultimately impact oral health equity.
House Bill 23-1112 would expand the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC). According to our partners at the Colorado Children’s Campaign, “EITC and CTC are two of the most effective tools we have to lift children and their families out of poverty by placing money back into the hands of families to help pay for necessities.” Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation (DDCOF) is proud to add our support to this important piece of legislation alongside other partners such as the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and the Colorado Hospital Association.
State and federal legislators are considering policies that impact food security. Colorado House Bill 23-1158, the Colorado commodity supplemental food grant program, will provide grant to aid county departments of human or social services, food banks, and food pantries in purchasing and distributing food packages to qualifying low-income older Colorado adults and is an important addition to the federal program. Senate Bill 23-027 proposes to appropriate $3 million dollars annually to the food pantry assistance grant program to address more access to fresh, quality, and nutritionally diverse foods. DDCOF will be monitoring the progress of these bills as they make their way through the process here at home.
We are keeping an eye on two federal food security policies. The first is the omnibus Farm Bill legislation that is up for consideration every five years and appropriates funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The second is the public comment period to the proposed Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) rules for revision in the WIC food packages.
There are two Colorado bills and federal policy that impact access to care and the coverage and financing of oral health services indirectly. Senate Bill 23-002 will enable Medicaid reimbursement for some of the services provided by community health workers by leveraging existing systems at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Senate Bill 23-031 proposes the creation of the Colorado Multidisciplinary Health-Care Provider Access Training Program to improve the health care of medically complex, costly, compromised, and vulnerable older Coloradans, which would be housed out of the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Finally, in October, Congress introduced S.5073 — Oral Health Literacy and Awareness Act of 2022, which would authorize a public education campaign across all relevant federal programs to increase oral health literacy and awareness. While it’s not likely this will move during this Congress, it does continue to raise awareness of the disparities in oral health care and the high cost of emergency care due to under-utilization of the preventive oral health care system.