Colorado residents will vote on a proposal for a single-payer, state-sponsored health insurance system, according to an article in the Denver Post.
Supporters gathered the 100,000 signatures needed to put Initiative 20, the "State Health Care System," on the 2016 ballot. Under ColoradoCare, state residents would choose their own health provider, but the state would pay for it.
This may add quite a bit of drama to the 2016 Colorado state election, since the proposed program would cost about $25 billion per year through a proposed 10 percent payroll tax, according to an article from The Hill.
Employers would pay 6.67 percent of the tax and employees would pay 3.33 percent. Still, supporters are optimistic that the benefit will outweigh the costs to Colorado residents, since it will save them $5 billion annually while still receiving the same premium healthcare.
"Colorado deserves a better option, and now they can vote on one," state Sen. Irene Aguilar, a Democrat and a medical doctor who has championed universal healthcare, told the Denver Post. "Healthcare 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 healthcare."
Opponents of ColoradoCare fear the giant price tag. Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has been trying to bring universal healthcare to Vermont for many years, but the effort has gone dormant due to its cost, FierceHealthPayer reported. Opponents also fear that this could be a gamble that, if it fails, could take Colorado down an unsure path, according to the Post.
Meanwhile, one expert has said the pending consolidation among major health insurers actually should be encouraged, because if all insurance giants eventually merge into one big company, they then can merge with Medicare to create a federal single-payer system.