Colorado Voters Defeat Single-Payer Health-Care System

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By Tripp Baltz

Nov. 9 — Colorado voters said no to a ballot measure (Amendment 69) that would have raised about $25 billion in new income taxes annually to fund a state single-payer health-care system.

The proposed constitutional amendment went down with about 80 percent of voters against it. The program it proposed, ColoradoCare, would have created a new statewide system for financing health-care services for Coloradans without other forms of health coverage. It also would have provided supplemental coverage to people who have other coverage and taken over administration of other government-funded health-care programs in the state, such as Medicaid and the Children’s Basic Health Plan.

Proponents said it would have saved money for the state and fulfilled an individual right—access to basic health-care services. Opponents decried the $25 billion tax increase and said the new mandates would have broken the state budget.

Bad for Business

The “No on Amendment 69" campaign thanked voters for defeating the measure, which it said would have “crushed the self-employed and deterred new business in Colorado.”

“At its core, the state showed it is fiscally responsible and economically conservative,” Walker Stapleton, Colorado treasurer and co-chair of the “No” campaign, told Bloomberg BNA Nov. 9.

T.R. Reid, spokesman for the ColoradoCare campaign, said supporters knew the initiative was in trouble, “but we lost worse than we expected.” He said the insurance industry “and the Koch Brothers pumped $8 million into our state to defeat our plan, and we were outspent 10 to 1.” Large pharmaceutical companies and the state hospital association also opposed the measure, which Reid said supporters will bring back in a future general election.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tripp Baltz in Denver at abaltz@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brian Broderick at bbroderick@bna.com

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