OPINION: Careless ColoradoCare Conclusions

BY CYNDA GREEN · MAY 1, 2016

I am alarmed by Daily Post editor Bill Hudson’s conclusion to his Five Part editorial, “Death and Taxes… and ColoradoCare.”Coloradans will vote this November on Amendment 69. If passed, Amendment 69 will set ColoradoCare into motion.

Mr. Hudson’s series ended with, “Many hands make for light work. Pooling our healthcare resources together might be the right choice for Colorado.”

We can all agree that the current health care system is broken, and is largely driven by big insurance and big Pharma profits. But this social experiment, ColoradoCare, is too radical and has the capability to devastate the Colorado economy.

An acquaintance of mine — a successful businessman educated in economics — has stronger words for ColoradoCare:

“This would be a disaster of epic proportions, and once in place would be almost impossible to dismantle.”

You can download the full text of the amendment here.

I had a conversation with Marilyn Bouldin, who apparently is the Salida public relations lead for ColoradoCare. In that position, one would think that she could answer my questions. She answered some, but couldn’t answer many. Some of my questions have no answers, and won’t until (and if) ColoradoCare (Amendment 69) is passed. This is reminiscent of Nancy Pelosi’s infamous quote in support of ObamaCare, “We have to pass the bill so that we can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.”

I did learn from my conversation with Ms. Bouldin that between 15–20 percent of Coloradans will end up paying more for their health care than they currently pay if Amendment 69 is passed.

Who is in the group that will pay more — as much as $35,000 for individual coverage under ColoradoCare — so that every person who intends to reside in Colorado is granted equal health care? There is no U.S. citizenship requirement, or legal address requirement. An individual must only “intend” to reside in Colorado to become a beneficiary of ColoradoCare.

It’s my hunch that two of the groups that will pay more are the comfortable retirees who decided to make Colorado their home and will now have to pay an additional 10% tax on all of their investment income, and the small businesses who don’t pay health care insurance for their employees, but will now have to pay a new 6.67% payroll tax for ColoradoCare, plus an additional 10% of their individual income.

There’s not a lot of wiggle room on the bottom line for many Colorado businesses. Colorado is tax-unfriendly to business, as though they are the enemy and not a driver of a thriving economy. For example, the commercial property tax rate is three times the residential property tax rate. ColoradoCare taxes just might tax many businesses out of existence.

And how many retired Coloradans will enjoy the new mandatory 10% Premium Tax, making Colorado the state with the highest income tax rate (14.63 percent) in the nation. How will that impact retirement decisions by future retirees? Will they become second homeowners in Colorado instead of residents? Or invest elsewhere altogether?

But hold on to your wallet, because the new 10% Premium Tax to pay for ColoradoCare is just the starting point. Taxes may be raised annually as necessary and as approved by the voting majority that voted for ColoradoCare in the first place — if that is what the future holds for us.

A week ago, when I first learned the skimpy details of ColoradoCare, I lost a night’s sleep. My gut told me that this scheme would break the state’s economy. But I’m not an economist, so I’ve researched the experts’ opinion on ColoradoCare.

I want to know why Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton (Republican) and former Governor Bill Ritter (Democrat), and Governor John Hickenlooper (Democrat) are opposed to Amendment 69 — ColoradoCare. I don’t think they would be opposed if they thought it was good for Colorado.

Here are three thoughtful articles to digest in your quest to learn about ColoradoCare, and to see past the rose-colored glasses worn by proponents:

ColoradoCare: An Independent Analysis (Colorado Health Institute)

Amendment 69: What You Need to Know about ColoradoCare Single Payer Health Care Measure (Independence Institute)

Foes say health care proposal would devastate Colorado (Denver Post)

The experts ask many of the same questions I’ve asked about ColoradoCare. Can the questions be adequately addressed prior to the November 3 vote?

I was told by Marilyn Bouldin that the new taxes levied to finance ColoradoCare will free up the $30 billion that the state currently pays for all health care programs.

I am not aware that any of that “freed-up” $30 billion will be allocated to ColoradoCare. It’s freed-up money allocated to what? Dust in the wind? More government waste?

I’ll end this piece where I started — with the quote from Daily Post editor Bill Hudson about ColoradoCare:

“Many hands make for light work. Pooling our healthcare resources together might be the right choice for Colorado.”

I’d like to point out to Mr. Hudson that each individual has two hands to work with. We should each strive to use our two hands to the best of our ability to do our share of the work.