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Universal Health Care Ballot Initiative Wins Ally in Colorado

ColoradoCare's Amendment 69 on next year's ballot promises to cover more residents than the Affordable Care Act at a lower cost to consumers. (Jeremy Campbell/Wikimedia Commons)
ColoradoCare's Amendment 69 on next year's ballot promises to cover more residents than the Affordable Care Act at a lower cost to consumers. (Jeremy Campbell/Wikimedia Commons)
December 17, 2015

DENVER - One of the state's leading non-partisan voices has endorsed ColoradoCare, a health care plan on next year's November ballot.

Barb Mattison, president of the League of Women Voters of Colorado, says the initiative would ensure all of the state's residents have access to mental health and substance abuse care, a priority for the group.

And she says the plan would also cover thousands of Coloradans currently falling through coverage gaps under the Affordable Care Act.

"We have too many people using emergency rooms for their care," says Mattison. "Every one of us now supports all that through our health care premiums. We need to even things out in Colorado, make care affordable for everyone."

Mattison adds low-income families, as well as people suffering from poor mental health and substance abuse, would be treated the same as any other patients under the initiative. The Colorado State Association of Health Underwriters opposes the plan and told the Denver Post a single-payer system could mean the end of private health insurance.

T.R. Reid, a ColoradoCare spokesperson, has produced health care documentaries for the Public Broadcasting Service series Frontline and is a best-selling author. He says because the measure would cover at least as many Coloradans as the Affordable Care Act, the state could opt out and save almost $5 billion in the first year alone.

"This is better than what we've got now, it gets us out of Obamacare," says Reid. "So this covers everybody, saves money, and it's a plan designed in Colorado, not in Washington D.C."

Reid adds the state's Legislative Council has vetted the economics of the initiative. He says by following Medicare's model, the new plan will spend just four percent of its budget on administrative expenses, compared with private health insurance costs as high as 20 percent.

Reid says he's looking forward to working with the League of Women Voters' 19 Colorado chapters to help educate the public on the initiative's benefits. That will begin next year.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO