Single payer, Rocky Mountain style:
Proponents of a statewide single-payer health care system have submitted 156,107 signatures, far more than the 98,492 required to qualify for the November 2016 ballot, to the Colorado secretary of state’s office for verification.
If the measure qualifies, Colorado would immediately become ground zero for a national debate on the concept of steep tax increases in return for guaranteed health care coverage for all residents, all against the backdrop of a pivotal presidential race.
The program, called ColoradoCare, comes with a steep price tag: $25 billion, which would be raised with a 10 percent payroll tax increase. At the same time, the plan would provide all residents with Medicare-style health care coverage and allow the state to dump Obamacare.
Our entire state budget for 2015-16 was $26 billion.
I used to joke that if Colorado ever filled up with too many people, I’d move to Wyoming. And that if Wyoming got too full, I’d move to Alaska. And that by the time Alaska filled up, we’d have colonies on Mars.
Honestly though, I could never imagine leaving Colorado.
Colorado’s income tax is currently a little under 5%. But under “ColoradoCare” (the mere name makes me wince) that would change in a big way:
Under the proposal, known as Initiative 20, employers would be on the hook for the lion’s share, 6.67 percent, and employees would be responsible for 3.33 percent of the 10 percent.
My state income taxes would nearly double, and my odds of getting a raise any time soon would plummet as my employer would be on the hook for even more.
And what would I and my family get in exchange?
Government-run healthcare. We’d be getting Medicaid, we’d be getting the VA, we’d be subject to the tender mercies of a 21-member “nonprofit cooperative.”
I won’t know what to make of my beloved state if this thing goes through, but I do know it would make a whole lot of new Texans.