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Single Payer Health Care Debate on Finances Continues

Fort Collins joins the debate tonight over ColoradoCare, a Medicaid-for-all measure on November's ballot. (Pixabay)
Fort Collins joins the debate tonight over ColoradoCare, a Medicaid-for-all measure on November's ballot. (Pixabay)
August 25, 2016

FORT COLLINS, Colo. – ColoradoCare, a single payer health plan on November's ballot, has come under increased scrutiny after a recent independent review by the Colorado Health Institute (CHI) determined the plan would not be able to cover expenses in the long term.

Anders Fremstad, an assistant professor of economics at Colorado State University, says while CHI came to almost identical conclusions on most of the plan, he disagrees with its assumption that federal funding for Medicaid would be cut.

"They forecast a small deficit in 2019, less than 0.7 percent of total expenditures,” he explains. “And once you add back in the revenue that CHI shouldn't have taken out, we have surpluses in the billions of dollars."

Fremstad adds ColoradoCare has a Plan B in place and would not go forward in the event of reduced federal funding.

Opponents of the ballot initiative hailed the CHI's conclusions, and the liberal groups NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado and Progress Now recently came out against the measure.

The CHI forecast also assumed higher cost increases than anticipated by architects of the health plan, which would require taxpayers to pay more to keep ColoradoCare in the black.

Anders counters that a single payer system will be able to rein in costs, and notes that Coloradans already are facing steep annual increases in their insurance premiums.

"A lot of what we pay them just goes towards their profits and administration,” he maintains. “There's so much waste in the current system that by reorganizing things, we can get more health care to more people for cheaper than what we have right now."

Previous analysis conducted by the Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care came to conclusions similar to the CHI report, and predicted a $1.5 billion surplus in ColoradoCare's first year of operations.

A debate on the measure originally scheduled for Thursday in Fort Collins was cancelled and will be rescheduled.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO