Colorado voters gambled on pot and TABOR, but will they go for single-payer health care? | Cover Story | Colorado Springs Independent
This November, Coloradans could decide to bring the first European-style health care system to the nation.
While other proposed initiatives scramble to make the ballot, a single proposal, Amendment 69, known as ColoradoCare, has been cleared for takeoff since late 2015. If voters pass it, ColoradoCare would amend the state Constitution to bring a tax-funded health insurance system to Colorado. Everyone not already covered under federal insurance like Medicare would be eligible for coverage, which would include copays for certain services but no deductibles.
While detractors and supporters cast the plan quite differently, this much is certain: ColoradoCare would be a financial giant. Its board members would handle some $38 billion a year and cover 4.4 million people.
Such a system has been proposed by other states. Vermont came close to implementing a plan until its one-time champion, Gov. Peter Shumlin, dropped it in 2014, calling it unaffordable.
According to Physicians for a National Health Care Program, “a non-profit research and education organization of 20,000 physicians, medical students and health professionals who support single-payer national health insurance,” more than 15 states have introduced single-payer health care bills since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. And, of course, plenty of countries across the globe have single-payer systems.
But if Colorado voters pass Amendment 69, the state would be in uncharted territory as the first and only state to ensure that all its citizens have health care. Owen Perkins, spokesperson for the campaign to pass ColoradoCare, says that sounds just fine to him.