DENVER - The $30 billion Coloradans currently spend on health care is set to approach $36 billion in 2017 following Monday’s Department of Health and Human Services announcement that individual plans on the market will see premiums rise an average of 25% nationwide next year, with a 20% rise in Colorado’s rates.
While millions of Americans are being priced out of health insurance by skyrocketing premiums and outrageous deductibles that make their insurance unusable, Coloradans have the chance to say “no” to the corporate insurance industry’s insatiable greed while taking matters into their own hands by supporting Amendment 69 on the ballot. A “YES” vote on Amendment 69 lowers the cumulative health care costs of individuals and businesses from $30 billion to $25 billion and ensures no future cost increases can take place without a vote of the people of Colorado.
Last month several major insurance providers announced they were pulling out of the Colorado Marketplace entirely or reducing the number of counties they would provide coverage in, leaving Coloradans in 14 counties with only one choice of corporate carrier — the wrong kind of “single-payer” plan. The 25% national average increase pales in comparison to the rising costs some Coloradans will face — as much as a 55% increase in one year alone, showing the current system of for-profit insurance companies to be unsustainable.
“The Affordable Care Act ensured many people people have access to health insurance and tried to reign in the for-profit health care corporations, but as we see, corporate CEOs will find a way to protect profits instead of people,” said Dave Sabados, Senior Consultant to the ColoradoCareYES campaign. “We need to end the for-profit corporate health care model that every other industrialized country has abandoned in favor of universal plans.”
The ColoradoCare model has been tested the world over, and Amendment 69’s “Medicare-for-All” model is based on the most effective, efficient, and popular government program in the United States, Medicare itself. Cutting the profit motive and the 20% administrative waste the corporate insurance industry takes from every health care dollar saves Colorado $4.5 billion, amounting to thousands and tens of thousands of dollars going back into the pockets of individuals and families under ColoradoCare.
The independent, non-profit entity owned and operated by the people of Colorado and managed by a representative board of trustees elected by Coloradans from across the state makes access to quality health care and the curbing of runaway costs the guiding priority, rather than the current corporate model’s emphasis on shareholder profits at the expense of Colorado patients.
“Amendment 69 has sparked an important — and refreshingly civil — discussion of health care priorities in Colorado,” said Owen Perkins, Director of Communications for ColoradoCareYES. “That discussion has revealed at least one universal truth: even Amendment 69’s harshest critics share the utter dissatisfaction and complete frustration with the current corporate health care model that leaves hundreds of thousands of Coloradans completely uncovered and over 20% of our population without usable insurance due to expensive deductibles the average Coloradan can’t afford.”
Coloradans have a viable solution in ColoradoCare’s “Medicare-for-All” type model, and the ballot offers us the chance to lead the way out of the crippling quagmire of the corporate control of our health care decisions. Instead of out-of-state bureaucrats dictating what providers we can see, denying our claims, and imposing endless premium increases without asking our input, ColoradoCare would be governed by an accountable board elected by the people of Colorado, subject to full transparency and sunshine laws, and incapable of raising rates without a majority vote of Colorado residents — the members and owners of ColoradoCare.
Amendment 69 will bring comprehensive coverage to hundreds of thousands of residents who are now uninsured and over a million Coloradans who are underinsured. Insurance premiums, deductibles, and most co-pays would be replaced by a simple 3.33% payroll deduction for employees and 6.67% for employers.
“This is our chance to put people, patients, and providers first with a plan that prioritizes the health of our community over corporate profits,” Perkins said. “There’s no question we need a solution to the unsustainable status quo. A ‘YES’ vote on ColoradoCare is that solution.”