Colorado to vote for universal health care in 2016

A ballot-initiative in Colorado to create a single-payer health-care system has earned enough signatures (158,831) to be put up for a state-wide vote in November 2016, Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced Monday.

The campaign for a revamped health system in the state is being led by ColoradoCareYes, which is proposing a 6.7 percent tax on employers and a 3.3 percent payroll tax on employees in order to raise an estimated $25 billion per year. The proposed system would allow consumers to choose their own health-care provider, with no out-of-pocket fees.

The total cost of insuring all state residents is estimated to cost $3 billion per year, not including administrative costs. ColoradoCareYes insists that Initiative 20 will save $9 billion for such expenses.

Ivan Miller, a psychologist who serves as ColoradoCareYes’ executive director, claims that under the new system state residents will pay $5 billion less for health-care then they do now.

Board president Byron McCurdy of the Colorado State Association of Health Underwriters, a free-market health-care advocacy group which opposes the universal health-care proposal, says such a system would have catastrophic consequences.

A single-payer system would destroy our industry,” McCurdy said. If the initiative passes, “I think we’d have trouble recruiting physicians.”

State senator and M.D. Irene Aguilar (D-Denver), disagrees with Mr. McCurdy’s sentiment.

“Health care costs continue to rise every year, hurting Coloradan’s chances to get ahead,” Dr. Aguilar said. “It’s time we get the insurance industry out of the driver’s seat and put families in charge of their health care.”

Under the new “State Health Care System”, a governing board would be created consisting of 21 members from all seven regions of the state. Initial members would be appointed by the governor and state legislature, followed by an elected-board.

Even if Initiative 20 passes next year, a waiver application would have to be submitted by the State of Colorado and signed by the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the federal health-care insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act.

 

[AP] [Denver Post]