DENVER — While his Broncos kept their focus on the field, running up the score against the Texans on Monday Night Football, former quarterback John Elway jumped into the political arena with this week’s release of an advertisement promoting the interests of billion-dollar corporations in the industrial health care industry and big oil at the expense of the working people of Colorado.

Elway is promoting a ballot measure that will ensure ballot access to only the wealthiest campaigns backed by multi-million-dollar contributions from the corporations whose only motive is to protect their profits.  Their lobbyists and campaign contributions have kept issues like raising the minimum wage and providing health care to all Colorado residents from gaining traction in the legislature — both of which come under criticism in the advertisement –, and now they seek to silence the voice of the people who waged grassroots campaigns to get popular issues on the ballot and put them up for an honest vote.
“John Elway was a great quarterback for the Broncos, but he’s proving to be a poor representative of the people,” said Dave Sabados, senior consultant to the ColoradoCareYES campaign.  “While Mr. Elway doesn’t need to worry about affordable health care or making a living wage to feed his family, the rest of us do.  The ballot initiative process is in place so the people of Colorado have the chance to make real change to improve our lives, like passing Amendments 69 (ColoradoCare) and 70 (raising the minimum wage).  That’s why I oppose Amendment 71, alongside a broad coalition of both conservative and progressive organizations.”
Protecting Colorado’s Environment, Economy, and Energy Independence is the campaign committee behind Elway’s pro-71 commercial, and they are backed by top-four funders Andarko Petroleum ($10.7 million cumulative), Nobel Energy ($9.1 million), PDC Energy ($1.8 million), and Whitting Oil and Gas Corporation ($1.6 million). And while Big Oil and Gas interests are trying to block access to the ballot, the corporate insurance industry is bankrolling the opposition to Amendment 69, with the Coloradans for Coloradans “no” campaign receiving its top four donations from out-of-state insurance industry giants Anthem ($1 million; Ohio), Kaiser ($500,000; California), United Health Care ($450,000; Connecticut), and Healthone ($250,00; Tennessee).
“When it comes to health care, John Elway is on the side of the multi-millionaires,” said best-selling author and filmmaker T.R. Reid. “He can pay any insurance company, no matter how stiff the premiums.  For most Coloradans, though,  the universal health care plan created by Amendment 69 — ColoradoCare — will provide much better health insurance than the out-of-state insurance companies, at much lower costs.   We need ColoradoCare, because we can’t afford the huge premium increases and the rotten coverage we’re getting from the big insurance companies.”
Over 3,000 individuals and organizations have endorsed ColoradoCare, with over 158,000 registered voters petitioning to put Amendment 69 on the ballot.  While the opposition has excelled at pulling in out-of-state corporate funds from Fortune 500 companies whose primary interest is to protect their shareholder profits, ColoradoCare has consistently attracted at least ten times the number of contributions, with 99.8% of all contributions for the year coming from individuals.  After the most recent campaign finance reports were filed on October 17, the ColoradoCareYES campaign surged to a 20-to-1 advantage over its opposition in the number of contributions each received, getting a big boost from Bernie Sanders, who hosted a “YES on 69” rally last Monday in Boulder.
Among the head-to-head highlights from January 1st through October 12th:
ColoradoCareYES Coloradans for Coloradans
(aka Corporations for Corporations)
Number of contributions: 8,574 424
% Funds from corporations: 2.8% 98.1%
Average contribution: $46.23 $10,880.33
ColoradoCare will save the average Coloradan thousands of dollars, and a collective $4.5 billion in savings in health care costs each year. ColoradoCare will provide comprehensive health care to every Coloradan, picking up hundreds of thousands of residents who are currently uninsured. Funding for the program will primarily come through a 3.33% payroll deduction for employees and 6.67% for employers, eliminating the need for premiums and deductibles.

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