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Amendment 69: Get the facts

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Dear Editor:

Erik Nesse and others should learn the facts before endorsing ColoradoCare. During a recent visit to Rocky Mountain Orthopaedic Associates of Grand Junction, I picked up these facts:

As a proposed amendment to Colorado's state constitution, Amendment 69 will, if passed, establish ColoradoCare, a government-run single payer statewide health care plan.

Amendment 69 specifies that ColoradoCare will be developed and managed by a 21-member governing board appointed by plan "members." The only stated requirements are that board appointees must be committed to successfully implementing ColoradoCare and live in the district they represent. They would not be required to have any experience or expertise in health care or health care financing. This board would bear the sole ability to decide coverage, negotiate prices and reimbursement, and raise taxes if necessary. The board would not be accountable to either the governor or the legislature.

Taxes to fund ColoradoCare would come from:

• 6.67 percent employer tax

• 3.3 percent employee tax

• 10 percent tax on non-payroll income (business income, capital gains, dividends, IRA and pension distributions, taxable Social Security income, etc.)

ColoradoCare would impose a $25 billion tax increase in its first year, doubling the size of the state budget. Amendment 69 places no limits on tax rates and gives the board of trustees the sole authority to raise taxes if the $25 billion proves insufficient. ColoradoCare is contingent on Colorado receiving an exemption from Obama-Care and being eligible to receive federal Medicaid funds.

Proponents state that savings in health care spending will come from an emphasis on preventive medicine and a greater use of mid-level providers.

Opponents believe that health care costs will actually increase under ColoradoCare. Further, they believe that a government-run system that mandates what hospitals and doctors are paid will likely cause health care providers to move out of state.

Proponents believe that the higher tax burden imposed by ColoradoCare will be offset by the elimination of health insurance premiums.

Opponents say ColoradoCare will give Colorado the highest state tax rates in America, making it difficult to retain and recruit businesses.

If Amendment 69 is passed it will be embedded in the state constitution, making it extremely difficult to amend or repeal. I urge you to carefully consider how this may affect you and your community when you cast your vote this November.

Jan Skinner

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