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Will Colorado Become the First State to Implement Single-Payer Health Care?

Tuesday, 20 October 2015 00:00 By Michael Corcoran, Truthout | Report Read the full article at Truth-Out.org.

Colorado State CapitolThe woeful state of politics in Washington is one of the major reasons why single-payer activists have targeted reforms in the states. (Image: Colorado State Capitol, medical symbols via Shutterstock; Edited: JR/TO)

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The fight for a statewide single-payer health-care system has shifted from the Green Mountains to the Rocky Mountains: Colorado citizens are about to put single-payer up for a statewide ballot referendum in the 2016 election. If voters approve, the state constitution will be amended to create a statewide, publicly financed, universal system for the first time in US history. Read the full article at Truth-Out.org. See also this post on progress in Colorado.

In Washington voters have the constitutional right to pass legislation by citizen initiative. In Colorado voters also have the right to amend the state constitution by citizen initiative. This is the text of the proposed constitutional initiative:

Shall state taxes be increased $25 billion annually in the first full fiscal year, and by such amounts that are raised thereafter, by an amendment to the Colorado Constitution establishing a health care payment system to fund health care for all individuals whose primary residence is in Colorado, and, in connection therewith, creating a governmental entity called ColoradoCare to administer the health care payment system; providing for the governance of ColoradoCare by an interim board of trustees until an elected board of trustees takes responsibility; exempting ColoradoCare from the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights; assessing an initial tax on the total payroll from employers, payroll income from employees, and nonpayroll income at varying rates; increasing these tax rates when ColoradoCare begins making health care payments for beneficiaries; capping the total amount of income subject to taxation; authorizing the board to increase the taxes in specified circumstances upon approval of the members of ColoradoCare; requiring ColoradoCare to contract with health care providers to pay for specific health care benefits; transferring administration of the Medicaid and children’s basic health programs and all other state and federal health care funds for Colorado to ColoradoCare; transferring responsibility to ColoradoCare for medical care that would otherwise be paid for by workers’ compensation insurance; requiring ColoradoCare to apply for a waiver from the Affordable Care Act to establish a Colorado health care payment system; and suspending the operations of the Colorado health benefit exchange and transferring its resources to ColoradoCare?

Will Washington Be the Second State to Implement Single-Payer Health Care?

Vermont tried to pass a state single-payer program, but it was voted down. I do not know the reason why. If ColoradoCare passes, Washington should be the next.

Will Insurance Companies Be Unhappy?

They will will fight single-payer health care? Yes. And when it is passed, they will howl. But pretty soon they will start selling add-on policies. And they will make a pretty penny doing so. In British Columbia, add-on policies cover whatever the single-payer program does not, such as travel coverage, coverage for deductibles,co-pays, drugs. They may cover dental.