Next year, residents will vote on replacing the Affordable Care Act with ColoradoCare, a single-payer plan that works like a cooperative. In a purple state like this, it just might work.
YES! Magazine, October 23, 2015
by Nathan Schneider
First pot, now health. In November 2012, Colorado voters approved a ballot initiative that made recreational use of marijunana legal, despite a federal ban. In November of next year, the state will have the opportunity to lead the way again—this time, by opting out of Obamacare and replacing it with ColoradoCare, a universal health care system governed by those who rely on it. Proponents presented far more than the requisite 99,000 signatures required to put the initiative on the 2016 ballot in Denver today, though they must be verified in the coming weeks.
ColoradoCare proposes a single-payer model that covers every Colorado resident. A tax on income and employers would replace insurance premiums, but the revenue wouldn't be subject to the whims of legislators; instead, it would go directly to a fund overseen by trustees whom the recipients choose. In this respect, it would be a cooperative-like system accountable to everyone in the state, independent from the rest of the government and enshrined in the constitution.
Proponents argue that ColoradoCare will mean better, more accountable care at a lower cost. Opponents, including the Koch brothers-funded Advancing Colorado, say it will be the Obamacare rollout on steroids. But by combining conservative irritation with the Affordable Care Act with liberal ambition toward universal coverage, it may actually have a chance in a purple state like Colorado.