Americans live in a nation strikingly divided by partisan politics. That partisanship is also poignantly felt at the State level and sometimes even in local government. This year is likely to be among the most starkly partisan in US history, with a highly polarizing Presidential race looming just months ahead.
In the lead up to this year’s election the Sky-Hi News will review statewide ballot measures and present local voices and viewpoints on those initiatives. We will strive to present an objective account of these partisan issues while also presenting the most informed and succinct perspective from both conservative and liberal viewpoints.
When Coloradoans head to the polls this November they will vote for more than just candidates though, they will also vote on a number of highly contentious ballot initiatives, among them the divisive Amendment 69, sometimes referred to as ColoradoCare.
Amendment 69 is a yes or no vote ballot initiative asking Colorado voters to approve or deny the creation of ColoradoCare. If approved ColoradoCare would create a comprehensive taxpayer funded healthcare system aimed at covering all state residents. ColoradoCare would transfer healthcare costs away from individual healthcare users to the ColoradoCare system. The ColoradoCare program would be paid for through increases in state taxes. The ColoradoCare system would fall under the “universal healthcare” or, as it is sometimes referred to, “single-payer” model.
The system would replace the medical care portion of workers’ compensation plans and under ColoradoCare residents would not pay deductibles. Designated preventive and primary care services would not have co-payments. Proponents claim beneficiaries would be permitted to choose their primary care professionals.
ColoradoCare would require increasing taxes in Colorado by roughly $25 billion during the first fiscal year, and continuing annually. The premium tax used to pay for ColoradoCare would be applied to most income sources including salaries, wages, tips, rents, interest and dividends, capital gains, business proprietors’ income, Social Security benefits, pensions and annuities. Premiums would be based on the individual income of taxpayers. ColoradoCare would be exempt from the Colorado Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR).
Services covered under ColoradoCare would include: ambulatory patient services, primary care, specialty care, hospitalization, emergency/urgent care, prescription drugs, medical equipment, mental health services, substance abuse services, behavioral health treatment, chronic disease management, rehabilitation services and devices, pediatric care and palliative and end-of-life care.
If ColoradoCare is approved the entity would technically be owned by Colorado resident, who would elect a 21 member governing Board of Trustees, made up of three individuals from each of the state’s seven districts.
The initiative has many proponents and opponents with Republicans largely opposed and Democrats more likely to favor the measure. While few conservatives or Republicans support the measure numerous high profile Democrats, including Governor John Hickenlooper and Senator Michael Bennet, oppose the amendment.
As of June 27 those campaigning in support of Amendment 69 and ColoradoCare have received $628,360.04 in contributions. Those campaigning against the initiative have raised $3,072,615, including a $1,000,000 donation from Anthem, Inc.
This is part one of a multi-part series. Part two will feature opinions on Amendment 69 from Grand County residents.
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