Colorado Lawmakers Approve On Federal Health Care Grant

DENVER (AP) — Colorado lawmakers moved forward Thursday with an $18 million federal grant application to set up an insurance marketplace required under the new health care law.

Lawmakers voted 9-1 to apply for the grant on an issue that divides Democrats who advocate for the new health care law and Republicans who want to see it repealed.

The Colorado Health Benefit Exchange creates a virtual marketplace to allow individuals and groups the ability to purchase health insurance at discounts that those in larger risk pools have. State lawmakers approved the insurance exchange earlier this year with bipartisan support, but Republicans were torn on the issue and have been criticized by constituents who see the legislation as an affirmation of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers overseeing the implementation of the insurance exchange were gridlocked in September on a grant application that at the time would be for $22 million. Republican Rep. Bob Gardner disagreed with the previous grant proposal but said he favored this one because it gives Colorado more flexibility over how to implement the exchanges and it’s a grant for less money.

Gardner said the grant process to set up an insurance exchange posed a dilemma for Republicans.

“The federal government says I have to do one. If I don’t do it they’ll do it for me. The people of Colorado will have little or no input into that,” he said. Gardner said the other option is to proceed while having more control over how the exchanges are implemented with language in the grant proposal that does “not presuppose the outcome” of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the new health care law.

He said he disagreed with Democrats who called the health care law “the law of the land.”

“It is the law of some of the land right now,” he said, referring to court challenges.

Democratic Sen. Irene Aguilar expressed concern about the language of the grant, which she said appeared to take “away all reference to federal health care reform.” She ultimately voted to approve the grant application.

“But I guess it seems a little ridiculous to be submitting a grant for a federal program that is created under federal health care reform, and in the grant to take out all the components of federal health care reform,” she said.

Specifically, Aguilar said she’s concerned that the grant proposal does not talk about risk-adjustment and making sure that some plans are not unfairly getting the unhealthy people.

“A lot of the stuff that’s taken out were things that are written in federal health care reform,” she said.

By Ivan Moreno, AP Writer (© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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  • Bala

    You’ll have to check with the CO DoR. Some states uaaomatictlly grant any approved Federal extensions while others do not and require a separate extension application. (And most states don’t grant the foreign earned income exclusion so the 2350 extension would be moot. In this case you’d need to file the CO return on time.)Some states (MO for example) grant an automatic extension if you file a Form 4868 Federal extension. The 4868 gives you a full 6 month extension. Since you moved in August you’ll meet the 330 day test in July so filing Form 4868 will cover you for the foreign earned income exclusion just as well as the 2350 does. The only time you’d need to use the 2350 is for an extension past Oct 15th which isn’t necessary in your case.Also bear in mind that neither Form 2350 nor 4868 gives you an extension of time to pay any tax due. You get a 60 day extension to June 15th since you reside outside of the US but penalties and interest will accrue from that date on if any tax is due when you do file. For this reason be SURE to enclose payment in full for any tax that you will owe once you do file.

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