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Monday, 26 September 2016 20:35

Ready for Amendment 69?

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Amendment 69: Know Before you Vote

 

By now you’ve most likely heard of Amendment 69, but maybe don’t know much about it.  Amendment 69 will be the first option on the November ballot, so now’s the time to educate yourself and your employees about this important healthcare bill!

The Amendment proposes that Colorado implement the first single-payer healthcare system in the nation, called ColoradoCare.  This universal healthcare system would cover all Colorado residents and provide the same benefit level to everyone, regardless of taxpayer or citizenship status.  To finance the plan, a new 10% payroll tax would be created, with employers paying 6.7% and employees paying 3.3%.  Self-employed persons would pay

the 10% on income, state tax returns, and retirement income.  $25 billion would be raised per year to fund the initiative, and those taxes could go up in the future.  It would actually amend our constitution, creating a large government subdivision and doubling the size of the state government.  It would replace most employer-based group coverage, individual insurance plans (and associated subsidies in the Exchange), and absorb Medicaid and Worker’s Comp medical benefits.  ColoradoCare would essentially be a new healthcare insurer governed and operated largely on its own, with 15 Trustees initially appointed to determine the exact levels of coverage and other specifics.

 Proponents of ColoradoCare say that it will achieve nearly 100% coverage for Colorado residents. They understand it will be costly, but they hope to save on administrative costs such as marketing, billing, and other overhead costs.  For many lower income families, the 3.3% payroll tax would most likely be much less than what they pay for health insurance today.  People experiencing continual rising costs, high deductibles, and limited doctor choice may find a single-payer system appealing.  ColoradoCare’s plan would have no deductibles, however it would have copays depending on the type of service.  Although we don’t have full details about the member cost share, the plan is to have at least a Silver-equivalent plan (70% actuarial value).

 Opponents of Amendment 69 don’t agree with the taxes imposed on Colorado employers and taxpayers, and worry about the financial stability needed to support a single-payer system.  In fact, an independent Colorado Health Institute study found that the plan would most likely be in a $253 million deficit within its first year, with deficits potentially rising to over $7 Billion in year ten. Challengers also caution that creating such a large government entity that basically runs on its own, without many of the safeguards or oversight that most government entities have today, is highly alarming.  ColoradoCare would be embedded in the constitution, making it extremely difficult to change if tweaks are needed down the road.  Also, the Amendment is only 11 pages, without much-needed detail on what the coverage will be, or how the doctor and hospital system would work.  There would be no benefit choice, as everyone would get the same level of coverage regardless of their health situation or specific needs.  Those that oppose this bill recognize that ColoradoCare is an enormous experiment, one that has not yet been accomplished in any other state, and they do not feel that Colorado should be the proverbial “guinea pig.”

Over the past few months, Fall River has been helping to educate employers and their employees on this important topic.  We conducted a webinar on the pros and cons and how to educate your employees on Amendment 69 last week. Please register to join our upcoming re-broadcast on October 13th!

Read 2209 times Last modified on Monday, 14 September 2020 19:42
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.