Why ColoradoCare won’t save you any money

Advancing Colorado spearheaded the opposition to Amendment 69 and we have continued advocating against it because we know how dangerous it will be to our economy, well-being and our health. Amendment 69 is a scam that will be paid for with a 10 percent tax on income in order to provide “free” medical care in Colorado.

We’ve heard many arguments in favor of this amendment — including deceptive doublespeak calling it a “repeal” of Obamacare, even though it is actually an extension of Obamacare.

One of the big lies the ColoradoCare campaign has spread all over Colorado is the idea the new system would save money. Specifically ColoradoCare promotes the idea that Colorado would save $4.5 billion per year in “health care” costs.

From their own economic analysis, ColoradoCare admits premiums will not decline. Let’s read that again. Premiums would not decline. When people complain that they can’t afford healthcare insurance, they’re usually not talking about the deductible or copays. They’re talking about the premiums. So by calling it a “premium tax” instead of an “insurance premium,” suddenly Coloradans can afford insurance? As if forcibly taxing the population makes them suddenly more affluent. A rose by any other name…

But let’s continue. $4.5 billion in savings. How do they come up with this number? Notably there’s $6.2 billion in a reduction of administrative expenses and — without a hint of irony — a reduction of bureaucratic paperwork. Funny, maybe they could reduce the regulatory burden on healthcare providers and accomplish the same goal.

This is all just fluff. Let’s talk about the real reason their calculations would be incorrect. To do that, we’re going to take a look at public transportation.

Public transportation is another one of these programs that promises to “cover everyone.” Anyone can use the Light Rail that stretches across Denver Metro or any public transportation throughout the state. We could call it “universal transportation.”

Universal Transportation does cover everyone in the state. For a small tax, each person in Colorado has the pleasure of looking at the light rail or driving next to the buses. (It’s extra to ride them.) These taxes only provide you the opportunity to use them.

You can use a combination of the light rail and city buses to get practically anywhere in Denver. But come 5 PM every weekday, Denver freeways are packed in bumper-to-bumper traffic. You’d think that with Universal Transportation, every person in the city would use the light rail or buses to get where they need. But you’d be wrong.

See, one of the problems with public transportation is that it’s slower than driving. With the exception of roughly 3-4 hours of the day, driving is quicker. Another problem is that Universal Transportation isn’t as flexible. You have to get on the Light Rail at 9:03 AM. You have to get off the Light Rail at 9:36 AM to jump on the 0L Bus at 9:42. Then you can walk a block or two to where you want to go. Or you can drive straight there.

A third problem with public transportation is that it’s not cost effective. It costs roughly 700% of the cost to go from the furthest south to the furthest north on the light rail than it does to drive the same distance.

Let’s go back to ColoradoCare. It’s supposed to cover every person in Colorado (like Universal Transportation!) It will “save” every person in Colorado a lot of money (like Universal Transportation!)

But the reality is that, while ColoradoCare may provide those benefits to Coloradans, it will be less flexible than a private plan and provide fewer and slower benefits. Not to mention, ColoradoCare will provide coverage for people out-of-state, and criminal aliens.

Why does that matter? Because Coloradans will probably still buy additional healthcare insurance that gives them the flexibility and benefits they really want. And all the cost savings will go away.

That brings us to another question. What is the difference between taxing the people and using that money toward health care insurance and taxing the people and redistributing those taxes evenly between all Coloradans?

Is there a difference? Let’s take it a bit further. Rather than taxing us and giving it back, why not just reduce our taxes so we can all afford the health care we want to buy?

Is this really about making sure everyone in the state has health care? Or is it about putting bureaucrats in charge of a “new health care system” that out-of-touch politicians will work to their benefit and their benefit alone?

You can share our petition at care.advancingco.org.