Universal health care amendment qualifies for 2016 Colorado ballot

Ed Sealover

Denver Business Journal

November 9, 2015


Coloradans officially will vote next year on whether to establish the first statewide universal health-care system in the country.


Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced Monday that the “ColoradoCare” campaign had submitted more than enough signatures to qualify for the 2016 ballot, according to a random sampling done by his office. While 98,492 signatures were needed to qualify for the ballot, the sampling determined that 109,134 of the 158,831 submitted signatures were valid.


“Colorado deserves a better option, and now they can vote on one,” said state Sen. Irene Aguilar, a Denver Democrat who is one of the leaders for the campaign. “It’s time we get the insurance industry out of the drivers’ seat and put families in charge of their health care.”


Amendment 69, as the measure will be known, would eliminate all of the existing health-insurance plans being sold in the state and replace them with plan offered by a state-chartered organization that will be funded with a 10 percent payroll deduction per employee.


Backers say it would save roughly $5 billion on health care spending by eliminating administrative expenses associated with the insurance industry, which would be wiped out in this state, and by allowing the state to negotiate bulk rates for pharmaceuticals.


Critics, however, call the measure a $25 billion tax hike — citing the amount of funding that will go to the program — and say that it could lead to limiting of health care based on the amount of money collected.


“ColoradoCare is an effort to ration our health care, which could lead to a loss of real human life, something no one wants to see happen,” said Jonathan Lockwood, executive director for the opposition group Advancing Colorado.