Health Care Rainbows and Unicorns

The Chamber’s Annual Health Care in Your Future Summit was today. There were some compelling presentations, and all of the presenters did a great job.

All of the materials from the Summit will soon be available on the event website at Particularly look through Jared Landis’ PowerPoint. He is with The Advisory Board Company and did a great job of explaining the ever-evolving health care landscape.

We also recorded the event and will post footage on the event website. You should watch the last panel of the day, which was a pro and con look at Amendment 69.

Since the November elections are still a long ways off, you may not be familiar with it. Colorado voters will be asked this fall whether they want to establish and pay for a universal health care system for our state. Specifically, Amendment 69 would change the state constitution to create a universal health care payment system called ColoradoCare to finance a comprehensive list of benefits for all residents.

To pay for the new system, state taxes would be increased by $25 billion annually in 2019-20, the first fiscal year the system is predicted to be fully implemented. It would levy new taxes on workers, businesses and retirees by taxing most income sources, including:

  • salaries, wages and tips
  • rents, interest and dividends
  • capital gains
  • business proprietors’ income
  • and Social Security benefits, pensions and annuities.

Supporters say Amendment 69 would:

  • reduce the uninsured rate to essentially zero
  • eliminate almost all under-insured
  • eliminate deductibles and large out-of-pocket expenses
  • allow patients full choice of primary care providers
  • give comprehensive benefits
  • and is economical, transparent, and accountable.

Opponents say that Amendment 69 would:

  • double the size of state government
  • put power in the hands of a board with no health care qualifications and that the group would not be accountable to taxpayers
  • unduly taxes farmers and small businesses
  • not actually guarantee coverage
  • dramatically change the population of Colorado by chasing away companies and employees not willing to pay the nation’s highest income taxes while drawing in a less healthy population wanting ‘free’ health care services
  • kill the state economy
  • and once embedded in the constitution would be extremely hard to change.

It was an interesting discussion. From my reading of the audience, the discussion could have gone on longer with many unasked questions remaining.

Amendment 69 has a ‘rainbows and unicorns’ feel to it at the moment. But based on the skepticism I was hearing in the room today, that may change as the hard questions get asked in the months ahead.