Insurance Companies Freak Out As Colorado Prepares For Single-Payer Vote

The notion that America is still the only modern democracy on the planet that doesn’t guarantee its citizens basic healthcare is pretty f’ng lame.

Well, Colorado might soon change that…

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As one of the first states to legalize and relate marijuana, Colorado is already a pretty badass state. Realizing that Washington is run by a bunch of stubborn man-children who represent the Cousin Eddies and Gordon Gekkos of the world, Colorado is poised to deliver single-payer healthcare to its residents–courtesy of efforts by ColoradoCareYES.

It seems the grassroots group garnered the necessary signatures, sponsoring a proposed overhaul of the pre-existing health care system to the state earlier this year, meaning it can now appear on the ballot.

In a statement released by  ColoradoCareYES, Senator Irene Aguilar (D-Denver) agrees that families should have a say when it comes to their health care:

Colorado deserves a better option, and now they can vote on one. Health care costs continue to rise every year, hurting Coloradans’ chances to get ahead. It’s time we get the insurance industry out of the driver’s seat and put families in charge of their health care.

It should be noted that Vermont experimented with single-payer, though it was ultimately scrapped by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, a longtime single-payer advocate, after  a financial report showed the cost of the program would nearly double the size of the state’s budget in the first year alone. But unlike Vermont, Colorado is lush with state revenue from marijuana sales and clearly has a readily available means to fill gaps in the budget.

But should the measure pass, it would fund itself through a new 10 percent payroll deduction. That means employers would pay 7 percent of the tax while employees would cover the rest. As a result, people would no longer be bombarded with burdensome  individual premiums, deductibles or most co-pays. In such a scenario, Coloradans would still choose their own medical providers, but their bills would be covered by the state.  According to the grassroots group, savings would come via reduction in administrative costs–a major cost driver in healthcare– as well as permitting a negotiation of bulk rates for pharmaceuticals. It’s believed that this will result in $5 billion in savings.

While this experiment failed in Vermont, and the insurance industry is hoping it fails in Colorado as well, Coloradans are a real unique people.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 11 percent of Coloradans are presently uninsured. A lot can change from now until election day, but Coloradans might just be enthusiastic enough to give it a try.

Featured image via  Public Citizen/Flickr

michael hayne headshotedited111 Michael is a comedian/VO artist/Columnist extraordinaire. Follow him on TwitterFacebook,   and

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