Colorado to Vote on Universal Health Care

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Universal Health CareColorado is looking to become the first U.S. state to replace federal health law in favor of taxpayer-funded health care coverage. Over 150,000 signatures were collected in support of the proposal, which makes it eligible to be on the ballot box and voted on in 2016.

ColoradoCare would replace any private health care with a proposed universal, government funded system. The cost of this new system is estimated to cost the state approximately $25 billion a year. That price would be covered by a seven percent workers tax for employers and a three percent payroll tax for employees.

Support for universal health care across the country has grown. A poll conducted in September reveals that over 60% of Americans are in favor of this type of system. Three out of four Americans also believe that the U.S. should be able to afford a universal health care system similar to other developed countries.

The Colorado proposal doesn’t mean there would only be a single health provider. Residents will still be able to choose whichever private health provider they prefer, but the state would be on the hook for the bill.

Opponents of the bill say it would put too much pressure on the state financially. Byron McCurdy, board president of the Colorado State Association of Health Underwriters, says, “A single-payer system would destroy our industry. I don’t think there’s any question about it.”

A similar universal health care approach was pursued in Vermont in 2011. The plan was withdrawn three years later due to claims of being too expensive. But Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is more hopeful.

“Colorado could lead the nation in moving toward a system to ensure better healthcare for more people at less cost,” says Sanders. “In the richest nation on earth, we should make healthcare a right for all citizens. No one should go bankrupt or skip getting the care they need because they cannot afford it.”

The proposed legislation is expected to have a significant impact on next year’s presidential election, with Colorado being a key swing state.

Sources for Today’s Article:
“Universal health care to appear on Colorado ballot in 2016,” Al Jazeera America web site, November 9, 2015; http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/11/9/universal-health-care-to-appear-on-colorado-ballot-in-2016.html.
Sullivan, P., “Colorado to vote on universal healthcare,” The Hill web site, November 9, 2015; http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/259595-colorado-to-vote-on-universal-healthcare-system.

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