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ColoradoCare Part 1: “The Basics”

Den Bishop
Den Bishop
Senior Advisor

For the next four Mondays (counting today), I’m going to take you on a 4-part blog series extravaganza…all focused on one, very key topic. What is it, you ask? Well, let’s dig in!

Voters in Colorado have a massive decision to make at the ballot box on Tuesday, November 8. No, I’m not talking about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or Gary Johnson…I’m talking about Amendment 69. To understand why this issue is so important to not only voters in Colorado but also the rest of the nation, we’re first going to address the basics.

What is Amendment 69?

Amendment 69, also known as ColoradoCare, is a new system of state-run health insurance that would replace the current health insurance industry. Individual health insurance, employer-sponsored health insurance, workers’ compensation medical insurance, and Medicaid would be combined into a single-payer insurance system run by the state of Colorado.

State Senator Irene Aguilar, who is a physician, spearheaded the initiative and was successful in securing the 100,000 signatures from Colorado voters to get Amendment 69 on the November ballot. Universal healthcare was a key platform item for Bernie Sanders who received approximately 40 percent more votes than Hillary Clinton in the Colorado Democratic primary.

Supporters of the amendment believe that a government-run system will be more efficient and that universal coverage is worth the risk of change. Those who oppose the amendment believe that a government takeover of health insurance would ultimately reduce choice and innovation and that the 12-page legislation leaves too many questions unanswered.

How will ColoradoCare be funded?

The funding of healthcare in Colorado under Amendment 69 is quite simple.

  • The revenue is generated through new taxes estimated to be $25 billion in the first year of operation.
  • A 10 percent payroll income tax would be divided between employers and workers…with the company paying 6.67 percent and workers paying 3.33 percent of compensation.
  • In addition, a non-payroll income tax of 10 percent would be applied to earnings from things like interest, capital gains, real estate income, retirement account distributions, and Social Security payments.

How will ColoradoCare affect employers?

All employers would participate. Employers who currently offer health insurance to their employees would no longer fund private health benefits, potentially creating an administrative and financial savings depending on their current program cost and contribution. Employers who do not currently offer health insurance would see an increase in operating costs with the new tax.

Who will govern ColoradoCare?

ColoradoCare would be governed by a 21-person elected board. The board would determine the covered benefits, the medical provider reimbursements, annual budgets, and hiring. The Colorado state constitution currently requires a vote of the people to increase state taxes. The ColoradoCare board would be granted taxing authority to fund the health program.

What’s next?

Healthcare inflation, the continuing social issue of an uninsured population, and a general malaise over the current healthcare funding system create an environment for change. Will the change start in Colorado? What will happen from there?

As I said, we’re going to be taking a look at this significant vote over the next few Mondays. Be on the lookout for:

And in the meantime, don’t forget to ask questions if you have them. You can comment below or reach out directly. The more we all understand what’s going on, the better we all are!

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