October 26, 2015
Advocates of a single-payer universal health care plan in Colorado delivered 156,107 signatures to the secretary of state’s office on Oct. 23 to get ColoradoCare, also known as Initiative 20, on the November 2016 ballot (video below).
The signatures will have to be verified, but if ColoradoCare makes it on to the ballot and is approved by voters, the program would cost an estimated $37.6 billion in 2019, reports The Coloradoan.
Of the $37.6 billion, $25 billion would be paid for with a 10 percent payroll tax increase; employers would cover 6.67 percent, while employees would cover 3.33 percent, notes the Washington Times. Voters reportedly rejected a $1 billion tax increase for education in 2013.
However, ColoradoCare may tap into the anti-Obamacare sentiment.
T.R. Reid, a spokesman for ColoradoCareYES, told the newspaper:
For some people, I say, “It gets us out of Obamacare,” and some people cheer. It’s a purple state, and we have this purple plan that can appeal to both sides. …
We’re a rich, compassionate country. We should provide health care for everybody. We’re not going to get there at the federal level. The federal government can’t do much. They’re gridlocked. So the way we’re going to get there is state by state.
Jonathan Lockwood, executive director of the pro-business group Advancing Colorado, told the Coloradoan: “[Early cost projections are] never accurate. That $25 billion is going to burn really fast when you open the floodgates for unrestrained [care].”
“I just think what we’ll see is a destabilization of what’s already a very delicate health care system here in Colorado,” he added.
Advancing Colorado plans to start a media blitz to stop ColoradoCare, but proponents of the plan are ready.
“Now that we’re on the ballot, guess who’s going to be coming for us?” ColoradoCare spokesperson Katy Kohnen told supporters at a rally in Fort Collins on Oct. 23.
The crowd responded, “Insurance companies!”
“That’s right,” Kohnen said. “Big money, so they don’t lose it.”
Advancing Colorado, which opposes ColoradoCare, was reportedly funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, but Lockwood denied that claim to the Associated Press in September.
Lockwood refused to disclose the donors of Advancing Colorado to the news service.