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Sunday, 06 December 2015 17:00

2016 Ballot Issue: “State Health Care System”

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Colorado voters will soon decide whether we should be the first state to implement a “single-payer” system, or universal health care for residents.  Keep an eye out for Initiative 20, the “State Health Care System”, which was certified recently as having obtained enough signatures to reach the 2016 ballot.

What this would mean to Colorado citizens:

  • Single-payer system through ColoradoCare; bills paid by them and not private insurance companies
  • Coverage would extend to anyone who earns income and lives in Colorado
  • People who qualify for existing federal health programs such as Medicaid and Worker’s Compensation would continue, but the administration would fall under ColoradoCare
  • Colorado residents would choose their own medical providers
  • 10% payroll tax–employers would pay 6.67% and employees would pay 3.33%.  Self-employed people would pay 10% of their net income.

The idea of a single-payer system for health care has been a hot topic for several years, and continues to be a heated debate.  Proponents, such as Ivan Miller, the Director of ColoradoCare and head of the Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care, contend that this type of system would extend coverage for $5 billion less than they pay now, by reducing administrative costs associated with private insurance and the pharmaceutical industry.  Opponents of the bill, such as Byron McCurdy, Board President of the Colorado State Association of Health Underwriters, goes so far as to say that “A single-payer system would destroy our industry.”  Nearly one-fifth of Colorado jobs are in the health care industry, and the belief is that physicians and hospitals would be very difficult to recruit, and the idea of a better health care system would be shattered from the start.  Critics of this bill also warn that it is a massive expansion of government that would double the size of the Colorado budget, and it’s possible even that won’t be sufficient to fund the care we’ve come to expect.

If the ColoradoCare bill is passed by voters in 2016, Colorado would become the first state in the country to implement a universal health care system.  However, Colorado is not the first state to have attempted this measure.  In 2011, the Vermont state government passed a law that established Green Mountain Care, the first single-payer system where residents would have received universal health care coverage, with the expectation that overall health care spending would be reduced.  Through 2014, Green Mountain was working on laying out the provisions and responsibilities of the bill, and trying to reconcile the $2 billion in extra spending that would have been necessary to fund the single-payer system.  Ultimately in December 2014, the universal health care plan in Vermont was abandoned, citing tax requirements on citizens and small businesses.

Stay tuned to see if the same situation occurs in the 2016 Colorado vote.

Read 10386 times Last modified on Monday, 14 September 2020 20:00
Tonya Young

Tonya is our Senior Account Manager and brings eleven years of prior insurance company expertise to Fall River, having worked at Anthem Blue Cross and Great-West Healthcare (now part of CIGNA). Tonya holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Texas A&M University. Originally from Minnesota, she loves the Colorado outdoors and enjoys family time with her young daughter.