We have an important healthcare initiative on the ballot in November.
Amendment 69, aka ColoradoCare, guarantees healthcare to all residents of Colorado. The highlights of ColoradoCare are that you choose your doctor, there are no deductibles, there are no co-pays for primary care, and co-pays for specialty care can be waived in cases of financial hardship.
ColoradoCare will cost employees 3.3 percent of your wages, and employers will pay 6.7 percent of your wages. (Employers currently spend an average of 13.5 percent of wages for their employees' health plans.)
Additionally, employers will no longer have to pay for the medical portion of workers compensation insurance, thus saving up to 59 percent of those premiums. This is a big savings for everyone (except the health insurance companies). For retirees who are married filing jointly, the first $60,000 of retirement income is exempt from the 10 percent tax, and ColoradoCare replaces supplemental Medicare insurance. Each congressional district will have three board members whom voters elect every two years, so they are directly accountable to the public.
An increase of rates can only be approved by voters. ColoradoCare wants to ensure that medical professionals stay in Colorado, so they will be compensated well.
We won't need to hold fundraisers for cancer patients to pay their medical bills anymore.
Patients will be able to focus on healing instead of stressing out about how they are going to pay bills, which are full of artificial pricing set by insurance companies.
In fact, the opposition to ColoradoCare (ironically named "Coloradans for Coloradans") is funded 99.84 percent by out-of-state health insurance companies, whose primary objective is to maximize profits for their shareholders and executives.
The current state of health insurance in Colorado is frightening. Starting in 2017 (which is five months away), Humana and United Healthcare will no longer offer individual plans in Colorado. Rocky Mountain Health will offer plans only in the Grand Junction area. Blue Cross has requested permission from the Colorado Insurance Commissioner to raise rates by 26 percent starting in January 2017. Let me repeat: 26 percent! Welcome to For-Profit Health Insurance, the Land Where the United Healthcare CEO made $66 million in 2014.
This path is only going to get worse.
Fortunately we do have a choice to get off this path. State Sen. Irene Aguilar, a medical doctor and the chief medical architect of ColoradoCare, is coming to Durango on Thursday, Sept. 1, to present "Understanding Amendment 69" at the Durango Public Library at 6:30 p.m. She will be available to answer your questions during the evening.