This post was written by Gretchen Hammer, a previous member of our team.
During college, I had a great gig as a children's ski instructor. I had a free ski pass, spent Winter Break and Spring Break in the mountains and most importantly I had the chance to play with three- to six-year-olds and try to teach them a little bit about a sport I love. One of the common sayings around the ski school was, "Prior proper planning prevents p*uck ups." While I am quite sure this was not the official motto of our ski school, it was a good reminder that when you are headed out onto a huge mountain with five children who do not belong to you, it is critical you take the time to properly plan and prepare.
As I reflect on the amount of preparation that has gone into the expansion of Medicaid to adults without dependent children (AwDC), that old ski school motto keeps coming back to me. The planning for this expansion began shortly after the passage of the enabling legislation. In the summer of 2009, The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, with support from The Colorado Health Foundation, began engaging stakeholders in high level, value-based discussions about what would make this expansion successful.
As you know, a LOT has happened with the economy and in the health policy world since that time. The approach to this expansion has changed a number of times based on changed eligibility estimates and shifting policy circumstances. Each time, the "team" working to ensure this expansion is successful-dedicated staff at the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, an appointed advisory committee, and a network of supporters and advocates -has worked tirelessly to appropriately adjust our planning. No matter the changes, our focus remained constant: ensuring that our systems work, providing benefits to meet the population's needs, and preparing our care providers with adequate information and resources.
No amount of prior proper planning can eliminate all risk. Kids still drop mittens off of ski lifts or get altitude sickness. There will still be unexpected hurdles in the work to connect some of the most vulnerable Coloradans to coverage and care. But as we embark on this critical expansion, I am thankful for all people that have committed their time and passion to make sure we have clearly articulated our shared goals and properly planned to meet these goals. As we begin expanding eligibility this month, I am confident about our success.