Colorado makes moves towards adopting a single payer health care system

Enough signatures have been obtained to put a single payer system on the ballot in the 2016 elections in Colorado. The measure would allow people to choose their own health care providers but the bills would be paid by a single, state-run entity. This is similar to the Medicare-for-all proposal of Bernie Sanders.

“We’re all excited. This is really important for the people of Colorado,” said Ivan Miller, executive director of ColoradoCare Yes and head of the Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care.

“Gathering signatures is really tough. I think the political consensus was we didn’t have a prayer.”

Miller, a psychologist and author of a book on health-care reform, contends that if the initiative passes, residents will gain premium health care coverage for $5 billion less than they pay now. ColoradoCare would slash administrative costs of private insurance and negotiate bulk rates for pharmaceuticals.

The coverage would extend to “anybody who earns income and lives in Colorado,” he said.

The initiative calls for a 21-member governing board from seven regions of the state. Its first members would be appointed by the governor and legislative leaders, but an elected board would succeed them.

Miller said the board could use any excess revenues to pay refunds or enlarge benefits, but it could not raise the payroll tax without voter approval.

Under the proposed system, people could still choose their medical providers, but the bills would be paid by ColoradoCare instead of private insurance companies.

To pay for state coverage, employers would pay 6.67 percent in payroll taxes and employees would kick in 3.33 percent, for a total of 10 percent of the payroll. Self-employed people would pay 10 percent of their net income. People who qualify for existing federal health programs could continue to receive the same benefits.

Naturally the private for-profit health insurance industry is going ballistic over this and will spend vast amounts of money fighting it. And it will not just be the Colorado companies. The entire lucrative health insurance industry, that are truly parasites on the system and contribute nothing of value, sees the successful implementation of a single-payer system in one state as the death knell for them all over. Recall that the current Canadian national single-payer health care system began in just one province before being adopted nationwide.

Coloradans can expect to see a year of massive fear-mongering about rationing and death panels all over again.


  1. Querent says

    Let’s hope Coloradans are acute enough to see through the greed-fuelled scaremongering. As a substantial beneficiary of the much-maligned British NHS, I couldn’t be a stronger advocate of a ‘single-payet’ system. Because I’d almost certainly have been dead without it.

    Best wishes

  2. raym says

    I spent the first four decades of my life in England, before moving to the US in 1990. To this day, it still feels utterly wrong to be paying directly for health care. What’s worse is that, until the bill arrives, you have no idea how much it is going to cost! And then when it finally arrives, it is full of completely meaningless numbers. $1000 for this, $500 for that, and so on, with these numbers then being ‘adjusted’ by the insurers to what they think the cost should be. And paperwork beyond imagining. No wonder it’s such an inefficient, expensive, and altogether crappy system. I’m *really* hoping to be able to retire to the UK.

  3. lorn says

    I used to drink with a bunch of guys from England, the NHS was the butt of many a joke, but, to a man, not one thought that returning England to private insurance and/or for-profit fee-for-service health care would be a good thing. Most shook their head at how difficult, backward, and expensive health care is in the US. A common question was: “how do you put up with it?”

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