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Colorado lawmakers embrace health care change

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 31, 2013 at 4:37 pm •  Published: January 31, 2013

DENVER (AP) — Colorado is preparing to expand health assistance for low-income adults, and Democratic lawmakers indicated Thursday that they're not going to entertain GOP attempts to put curbs on that expansion.

The Senate Education Committee rejected a GOP proposal to make K-12 education a higher priority than looming Medicaid expansion. The 5-4 party-line vote was the first indication that state lawmakers are going along with Gov. John Hickenlooper's decision to expand Medicaid as part of the federal health care law.

In some states, lawmakers have balked or questioned the decision on Medicaid expansion. Though states have the option of expanding Medicaid under the law, and federal authorities insist states can back out any time if finances require, many Republicans have raised questions about whether states can afford to put more people on public health assistance.

Colorado's bill Thursday came from Republican Sen. David Balmer of Centennial. He wanted lawmakers to commit to making K-12 education funding a higher priority than the health care change. He brought with him teachers who talked about years of budget cuts. They pleaded with lawmakers to protect them from future budget cuts.

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