by Jeanne Nicholson, RN, MS
ColoradoCare, Amendment 69, will be a nonprofit cooperative owned by the residents of Colorado. Recently, the Colorado Health Institute launched a series of reports to look closely at ColoradoCare, stating that “if approved ColoradoCare would launch the most far-reaching health care reform in any state since the ACA.”
That is absolutely true. ColoradoCare would transform the way we pay for health care, making it more affordable with better benefits than what we have now. Every Colorado resident would be covered. Some of us believe it is a moral imperative that no one be denied needed health care. Many of us believe we are paying too much and getting too little. Sometimes we don’t realize just how little until we are ill or injured.
Opponents and some media reports have glommed on to a line in the CHI report comparing the size of ColoradoCare to McDonalds (a fortune-500 company). All of us can appreciate the important difference between a for-profit corporation and a non-profit cooperative. While the Amendment ballot language reads: Shall taxes be raised $25 billion… this is less than and will replace what you and I pay now for premiums, deductibles, and copays in Colorado. We’re spending more than $30 billion now, and yet so many Coloradans struggle to afford health care or die from lack of affordable care. With Coloradocare, Coloradans will spend less than we do now, enjoy more health benefits, and experience fewer hassles.
Free enterprise is great for restaurants and hotels, but doesn’t work well at all for health care. Health care should be a public resource like public libraries, public roads, and public education. Health care should be a basic service everyone pays into and everyone benefits from regardless of their financial status … like public libraries, public roads, and public education.
The mission of for-profit corporations is to make profits whether or not they benefit people’s health. (Think of Phillip Morris, or Monsanto.) The current health care payment system (with 400+ private health insurers operating in Colorado alone) provides giant profits to big medicine and big pharma while failing Coloradans who need health care they can afford.
By reforming the payment system into ColoradoCare—a non-profit cooperative owned by all Coloradans—we’ll ensure health care becomes pubic resource, not only a commodity.
Colorado could lead the way for universal health care in the U.S. In the west we often challenge tradition and have often been the leaders for change like in wining women’s right to vote.
Check out the ColoraoCare.org website and make your own decision about what will be best for you and all Coloradans. I think you will be surprised when you learn we can have a much better health care payment system if we have the courage to change.