The Colorado Legislature has proposed a series of deep budget cuts that could cause rural hospitals across the state to close.
As Colorado Public Radio reports, lawmakers have come up with a budget that would eliminate over a quarter-billion dollars’ worth of funding for hospitals. All told, the cuts could actually total over half a billion dollars, because Colorado would be missing out on Federal matching funds. The cuts are being prompted by tax limits that were approved by Colorado voters.
There are at least eight rural hospitals in Colorado that have been operating on shoestring budgets, and for those facilities this budget could sound the death knell.
The uncertainty for these rural hospitals is being played out against a backdrop of further cuts—possibly catastrophic ones—being suggested by Republicans in the U.S. Congress, with the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The law has been a boon to rural hospitals in states like Colorado, which expanded Medicare under the A.C.A.. That’s because more people have insurance under Obamacare, and these hospitals are thus receiving more compensation.