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Tuesday, 24 May 2016 21:45

Understanding the Single-Payer Health Care Initiative “ColoradoCare” Amendment 69

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What is Amendment 69?
Also known as ColoradoCare, Amendment 69 is a single-payer healthcare initiative that will create a government run, universal healthcare system in Colorado. Due to appear on the 2016 general election ballot, the passage of Amendment 69 would eliminate private health insurance and subsidies provided through Colorado’s insurance exchange and funding for Medicaid.
Who is responsible for assuring care?
Over the course of three years, a board of 21 Trustees will be elected by Colorado residents. The Board of Trustees will be responsible for all healthcare operations, including decisions related to funding taxation and benefit levels.
How will this be funded?
It will be paid for by a premium tax increase to Coloradans, based on income, which will be used to pay healthcare providers. There will also be a tax on non-payroll income. This would put no less than a $25 billion dollar increase in taxes each year. 
Beginning July 1, 2017, transitional operating fund taxes or TOFT, will be collected at the following rates:
  • 0.6% of payroll income from employers
  • 0.3% of payroll income from employees
  • 0.9% from non-payroll income
One month prior to ColoradoCare’s launch, premium taxes will be collected at the following rates:
  • 6.67% of total payroll income from employers
  • 3.33% of total payroll income from employees
  • 10% from non-payroll income
  • Expensive
    • It will cost Colorado taxpayers $25 billion in its first year of operation 
    • This one program would nearly double Colorado’s state spending 
    • Colorado would have the highest tax rate in the country
    • Will tax employers, employees and retirees
  • Higher Taxes
    • A premium tax of 6.67% of total payroll income will be imposed on employers
    • A premium tax of 3.33% of total payroll income will be imposed on workers
    • Wages, salaries and tips would be subject to the premium tax
    • Taxes can be increased annually by any amount without voter approval
    • Anyone who has non-payroll income would be taxed at 10%. Non-payroll income includes business owners’ income, capital gains, pensions, annuities, and social security benefits
  • Job Losses
    • Businesses may reduce workforce or wages to help pay for the premium tax increase
    • Business owners may relocate to other states with lower taxes rather than pay the new 10% payroll tax
    • It may attract people to Colorado who do not work but would benefit from receiving free healthcare
  • No Accountability
    • It would be governed by an elected, 21-member board of trustees not subject to oversight by the legislature, and not subject to direction or control by any State Government entity
    • Taxes and benefits can be increased by ColoradoCare each year to ensure financial stability. Providers and beneficiaries would be subject to unilateral actions by ColoradoCare
  • Accessibility Issues
    • Colorado would become less attractive to physicians, causing many to close or move their practice
    • It could lead to limiting of health care based on the amount of money collected
    • It would absorb all State and Federal health-care programs, including workers’ comp and Medicaid, without any guarantee that federal funding would be replaced
Where do I go to learn more?
To learn more about Amendment 69 and the affects it will have on the healthcare system in Colorado, please visit coloradocare.org/amendment-69 and ColoradansForColoradans.com.
Read 1289 times Last modified on Wednesday, 08 June 2016 10:37
Juliet Fitzgibbons

Juliet joins Fall River as an Account Executive and brings over 15 years of prior broker and account management experience. Her experience brings extensive knowledge on employee benefit programs, account management and creative cost-saving strategies and compliance solutions for employers of various sizes.

She is responsible for new business proposals, client renewals including plan benchmarking, rate analysis and mid-year reviews. She helps clients navigate healthcare systems and educates employers and employees through open enrollment meetings and day-to-day service requests. Juliet joined Fall River in 2015.