Amendment 69, State Healthcare System Explained

October 11, 2016

Amendment 69 would create a first-in-the-nation statewide tax-funded universal health plan called ColoradoCare. Every resident would have coverage that would take the place of most private insurance. Consumers would make co-payments, but would no longer have premiums and deductibles.

Colorado residents would support the plan with a new 10 percent payroll tax. Your pay stub would show your employer paying two thirds of that, with you paying the remaining third. The self-employed would also pay 10 percent. Those taxes would total $25 billion in 2019, the program’s first year. ColoradoCare would also administer the state’s Medicaid program, so its budget would be $36 billion, bigger than that of the state government.

Within three years, residents from seven districts in Colorado would elect three trustees. Together they’d form a 21-member board. That board would assume a host of responsibilities, including operations of ColoradoCare, buying authority for pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, financial oversight and rules and procedures to ensure sustainability.

Backers, including the group ColoradoCareYes, argue the new program would ensure “quality, accessible, lifetime health care” for every state resident. They say it would save $4.5 billion a year by slashing bureaucracy and cutting administrative and other costs. 

Opponents include the group Coloradans for Coloradans. They say the plan is too expensive and will be a big tax burden on individuals and businesses. They criticize the implementation of the 21-member board, which they call a group of “unaccountable politicians,” who are exempt from recall. Opponents also argue such a risky, complex measure should not be embedded in the state’s constitution.

A “yes” vote would create the nation’s first statewide, tax-funded universal health plan. A “no” vote would mean the state’s health insurance system remains as it is.