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Executive Orders from the Administration of Governor Bill Owens 1999-2005
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(DENVER) – Gov. Bill Owens today announced a plan for Sustainable Health Care Expansion, saying that it was important to address the needs of Colorado's most vulnerable citizens.
"Expanding the availability and accessibility of health care in Colorado is a key opportunity we can address with the new revenue from the state's increased tobacco tax. We also have a responsibility to consumers and taxpayers to make sure that these expansions are sustainable," Owens said.
The voter-approved initiative to increase tobacco taxes will raise an estimated $175 million in new revenue available during the coming fiscal year which starts July 1, 2005. The Owens' plan would use a portion of the $175 million.
"The experts at two state agencies have been working with key legislators in both parties, healthcare providers and advocates to develop a common-sense plan. The plan will address unmet needs in current programs, will expand effective disease management programs and will be able to sustain these programs in the future," Owens said.
The two state agencies responsible for developing the plan are the Department of Public Health and Environment and the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.
The proposal includes:
An additional $3 million would be allocated to the Governor's Rural Health Care Initiative to improve access to health care services in rural Colorado.
Owens also proposed setting aside $45 million in a trust fund to help support program expansions in the future.
"Economics tells us that the higher taxes will reduce smoking and the programs we invest in will also cause more people to quit. That's why the first year of the higher tobacco tax will likely produce the maximum amount of revenue we could expect in one year. It is important to reserve a portion of the first-year funds to make sure these programs can be maintained in the future. Our plan is responsible, achievable and sustainable," Owens said.
Complete plan details (pdf)
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