COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., January 20, 2016—A single-payer healthcare initiative, Amendment 69, will be on the November ballot in Colorado. This amendment is socialized medicine on steroids. After the spectacular failure of the Colorado healthcare exchange, this effort is as audacious as it is surprising.
Perhaps we should not be surprised about anything that comes from the left in Colorado. Ever since they executed the Colorado Blueprint in 2006 with left-wing, homosexual-activist billionaire money, they think they own the state. With Republicans, Libertarians and independents unable to unite enough against them, they may be right.
Amendment 69 is breathtaking in its audacity. As an amendment to the Colorado constitution, it would mandate a single-payer healthcare insurance system.
But that’s not all.
It would do so by creating a new “political subdivision of the state” accountable only to itself—not to the governor, not to the legislature. It would be run by its own board of trustees and raise its own taxes. It would subsume all other healthcare options in the state: the (failed) state healthcare exchange, Children’s Basic Health Plan, and Medicaid.
In short, a state within a state.
It would be funded by diverting existing state monies and federal subsidies into a trust fund, managed by the Board of Trustees. That wouldn’t be enough: there is an initial tax hike.
The plan would raise Colorado state taxes by 10% initially, making Colorado the highest state tax in the nation. Colorado’s current tax rate is 4.63%; with the increase it will become 14.63%.
It is estimated that when the fund becomes fully operational, that tax will amount to $25 billion.
To put that into perspective, Colorado’s 2014 spending was a little over $30 billion, including federal subsidies. That is more than $5,600 per person in Colorado; Amendment 69 would double that.
What do you get for your money? Nothing guaranteed.
The amendment specifically states that “Payment of the premium tax does not constitute the purchase of a health insurance policy….”
Americans find it hard to understand the difference between “health insurance” and “health care.” To put is simply, under this amendment Coloradans will no longer have health insurance and their health care will be whatever this new political entity decides they can have. Period. No exceptions, no exemptions.
It gets worse, much worse. Decades of evaluations of existing centrally-planned health care programs show their costs are poorly controlled, they have long waiting lists for even basic care, limit access to new drugs and treatment options, have miserable quality, and discourage new discoveries.
Colorado can soon have a healthcare system to rival Cuba or the former Soviet Union if this is not defeated.
In the 2013 election, leftists floated Amendment 66, another $25 billion tax hike. That amendment was defeated by a solid 2/3 majority.
Colorado needs to do the same to Amendment 69.