Health Care for All Colorado will shoot for a 2014 statewide ballot vote rather than 2013, supporters have decided.
The progressive cause has launched an education effort across the state, but decided to take the extra year to gather support and earn enough of the tens of thousands of signatures it would need to make the ballot, said director Donna Smith.
One of the group’s slogans is that health care is a right, not a commodity. Most supporters are backers of “Obamacare” reforms passed by Congress in 2010, but argue they don’t go far enough to guarantee health care to all citizens. In Colorado alone, hundreds of thousands of people will remain without health insurance because of gaps left in undocumented residents, workers changing jobs, and those who risk a penalty in refusing to buy insurance.
Health Care for All would put a payroll tax on all residents according to their income and asset levels. It would also ask Medicare and Medicaid, which use federal and state dollars to pay for more than a million state residents, to issue waivers allowing their funds to be pooled with the health care tax. A single administration would then make payments to health care providers like doctors and hospitals, on a common set of benefits.
A separate effort for a somewhat similar system was dropped in this past Legislature by Sen. Irene Aguilar of south Denver, a Democrat who also believes Obamacare did not go far enough. Because she wanted the Legislature to refer the issue to voters, Aguilar would have needed a two-thirds vote, including highly reluctant Republicans. She apparently was not able to win that extra support.