To the Editor:
Currently, too many Coloradans are either uninsured (370,000), or under-insured (870,000) — covered by policies with such high deductibles ($3,000-$10,000) that they cannot afford to go to the doctor anyway, except in a catastrophic medical emergency. Amendment 69, also known as “ColoradoCare,” would provide excellent coverage, with a zero deductible.
Industry wants us to vote down ColoradoCare, Amendment 69, because it stands to lose billions in profits. Industry’s huge financial resources enable it to spread misinformation far and wide, via multimillion dollar TV ads, the misnamed “ColoradansforColoradans” website (99 percent industry-funded), and heavily financed state politicians. Truth is vital — not just for ethical personal conduct, but also for the discourse of a well-functioning, just and loving community. Here are some of the untruths that industry is spreading:
• The $25 billion taxes which ColoradoCare would raise would bankrupt us. That $25 billion in taxes would replace about $30 billion we currently spend on industry’s high premiums and deductibles. Add to that, industry’s rates skyrocket again — 16-42 percent in 2017 according to Colorado Health Institute (coloradohealthinstitute.org/key-issues/detail/health-coverage-and-the-uninsured/insurance-rates). Statewide, citizens would personally save $4.5 billion per year, about $900/resident — not state money, but money back in our wallets — projections confirmed by the state of Colorado’s own Fiscal Impact Statement. The truth is that 60 percent of bankruptcies and 50 percent of foreclosures occur because of overwhelming medical emergencies. ColoradoCare would prevent such financial catastrophes, stabilizing communities and supporting thousands of families.
• Our government would topple by this doubling of its budget. In reality, ColoradoCare would be an entity legally separate and financially distinct from the Colorado state government, operating on its own with a separate revenue stream. The state of Colorado’s Fiscal Impact Statement for Amendment 69 provides in-depth meta-analysis, confirming ColoradoCare’s designed-in operating safety surplus of $1.5 billion; the state itself would save another $147.3 million annually from ColoradoCare when fully implemented.
• We would not have choice — our health care would be under government control, with unaccountable ColoradoCare supervisors who could raise tax rates whenever they please. The reality is quite the reverse. Currently, we are subject to a dictatorship of corporations whose only purpose is to extract as much wealth as possible from Coloradans. Corporations are notoriously unaccountable to consumers and frequently raise rates, change policies, deny claims and even avoid payment when high deductibles are finally reached.
ColoradoCare (please see coloradocare.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/amendment-reformatted12.27.15.pdf) creates a legal cooperative of which all voting-age Coloradans are members. We would own and democratically control ColoradoCare by voting supervisors in or out — see Section 5 (1) — and have complete voting power over any rate increase — see Section 9 (8). ColoradoCare ensures absolute control over our own health care. In addition, we would have complete choice over our providers — all Colorado providers and hospitals would be “in-network.”
• Providers would leave the state, leaving us without care. ColoradoCare’s economic design reimburses providers with income equal to or more than current incomes, with the ongoing option to adjust as needed to ensure sustainability. Provider income only amounts to 8 percent of our health care costs, and that full 8 percent is built in to ColoradoCare cost plans. The savings ColoradoCare will create comes primarily from vastly simplified administrative costs (Medicare enjoys administrative costs of 2-3 percent versus private industry’s rat-tunnel maze 20-30 percent). Also, all funding is for provision of services, not investor profit.
• Businesses would crumble under the new taxes. Actually, Colorado businesses which currently provide employee health-care would save half their expenses, paying 6.67 percent for employee health care versus the national average of 13.5 percent. Businesses not currently providing coverage for employees would pay more, it’s true — for a $12/hour employee, it would add .80, one raise. But economists believe that the annual $4.5 billion in consumers’ pockets would largely be spent in local businesses, stimulating the economy. We can divide that $4.5 billion by 150,000 businesses in Colorado to find an average of $28,660 of likely new revenue per business, annually. Everyone benefits, with a projected 32,000 new jobs created by ColoradoCare. And please visit coloradocare.org/amendment/saving-cities-millions/ to see how much cities and counties throughout Colorado are expected to save — probably resulting in reduced local taxes.
These are some of the primary issues distorted by profit-seeking opponents of ColoradoCare. Please check these resources and vote yes for this solid, Medicare-based, democratic plan, ColoradoCare.
— Kirby MacLaurin