The Denver Chamber has launched a campaign to defeat Amendment 69, which would double the state budget through a $25 billion tax increase to create a single-payer, government-run health insurance system – eliminating the current market-based system. If passed, Colorado would immediately have the highest state taxes in the country. The Chamber is carefully studying all aspects of this proposed plan, which has far more questions and ambiguities than clear answers. But we know this: Amendment 69 would be devastating for Colorado’s economy, employers and their employees.
Here is why:
It is costly. The $25 billion tax increase (now at $28 billion) would essentially DOUBLE the size of the current state budget. Employers would have a new 6.67 percent payroll tax, and all workers would pay another 3.33 percent payroll tax.
It hits business owners and sole proprietors dis-proportionally. These Coloradans would pay both sides of the tax – that’s 10 percent in new employment taxes. On top of that, there would be an additional 10 percent tax on all non-payroll income.
It is unaccountable. While supported by your tax dollars, ColoradoCare is specifically designed to operate outside state government and TABOR limitations, run by a 21-member board elected by plan “members.” This board would bear the sole ability to decide coverage, negotiate prices and reimbursement rates and raise taxes when the initial $25 billion in annual revenue proves insufficient and would have no accountability to the governor or legislature.
It would limit health care choice, access and quality. A single-payer system like this makes Colorado less attractive to providers. We fear our best providers would leave the state and that it would be hard to attract new providers to practice here.
Workers and their families face uncertainty about coverage. Today, workers know what their plan covers – and what it doesn’t. There are no specifics about what the ColoradoCare plan would cover, and those decisions are left to the 21-member board.
It will cost Colorado jobs. By giving Colorado the highest state taxes in America to create an untested plan with uncertain coverages, ColoradoCare may force companies to choose not to locate in Colorado – or move out of Colorado – because of our health care system.
Plus, large, self-insured companies with national presence would have to navigate multiple health care systems and make exceptions for Colorado, making our state a less attractive place to do business.
It won’t impact the national cost curve. It’s unrealistic to think, even if you do support single-payer systems, that, as the only state in the union with this model, Colorado would influence the national market and cost curve.
It would be embedded in the state Constitution, making it extremely hard to amend or repeal. Cementing an experiment in our Constitution doesn’t make sense.
Under Amendment 69, ALL Coloradoans will lose their current benefit plan, to be replaced by benefits yet to be determined, to be serviced by an entity yet to be identified, to include providers yet to be named.