by Michael Corcoran, Truthout | Report Thursday, 24 March 2016
Colorado's efforts to become the first state to pass a public, universal health care system are facing stiff opposition from right-wing organizations, many of which are funded by or affiliated with brothers Charles and David Koch.
As expected, these moneyed interests are doing everything they can to stop the state from amending its constitution with a ballot referendum, Amendment 69, which would implement a statewide version of "single-payer" health care. If approved, ColoradoCare would cover every resident, regardless of employment or ability to pay. In October, organizers submitted enough signatures to put the amendment on the ballot. The vote will take place on Election Day this year.
If the opposition groups succeed, they would not only be depriving Colorado of universal health care, but also would be serving another destructive blow to single-payer activists across the country. The single-payer movement saw a similar effort in Vermont fail in 2015, and its activists were shunned by the White House during federal reform discussions in 2010.
These groups and their tactics demonstrate how progressive state policies are opposed -- and often defeated -- with the help of a vast and impressive network of free market groups in all 50 states. Many of these groups have ties to the billionaire Koch brothers, who have vigorously resisted health care reform in Washington and in the states. Opposition is also coming from the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and is expected from the health insurance and drug industries. Combined, these forces will be an extremely difficult obstacle for advocates of health care justice, who hope Colorado can create health care history.