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Health Advocates Call 46 the Wrong Prescription for Colorado

October 30, 2008

Denver, CO - Amendment 46 could have side effects that are bad for Colorado's health, some say. A major consumer health advocacy group in the state has announced its opposition to the ballot measure, which would ban consideration of race, gender or ethnicity in public employment, education and contracting programs.

Dede de Percin of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative says that could make it difficult to address the specific health concerns of the state's different ethnic groups and communities.

"Different communities are affected differently by different diseases. We have to design programs that really meet the needs of that particular community, and this bill potentially prevents us from doing that."

De Percin says Amendment 46 would remove incentives for hiring and training minority health care workers.

"Training minority workers is hugely important to a state where we don't have enough providers, particularly where you need a diverse workforce to provide competent and appropriate care."

Backers of Amendment 46 say the state is at a point in history where everyone should be treated the same. De Percin disagrees. She worries that Amendment 46 would be a shock to the system instead, reversing gains made in recent decades toward a more equitable health care system.

"This clearly is a rollback of so many gains on the health care front and so many ancillary gains that affect people's access to health care."

The Colorado Medical Society also has announced opposition to Amendment 46.

Eric Mack/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - CO