Vail Daily letter: ‘No’ on Amendment 69 | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily letter: ‘No’ on Amendment 69

The most important item missing in most of the dialogue during the last several months on Amendment 69, ColoradoCare, other than Medicaid and private insurance going away, is the fact that our workers' compensation insurance system in Colorado would cease to exist as we know it. All of the citizens employed as employee benefits brokers would lose their jobs. Colorado would be at the highest tax level in the nation. Many businesses would be deterred from setting up shop in our vibrant state, and many businesses and individuals would leave.

I would like to touch on some items that may or may not have been printed by the Vail Daily, Denver Post or other news sources. Please note several comments by Pinnacol Assurance, our leading workers' compensation provider, currently quasi-governmental:

• The state Constitution would be amended to replace Medicaid and private insurance with a single-payer health care system in Colorado and it would decimate Colorado's workers' compensation system, widely considered one of the best in the nation.

• Workers' compensation insurers will be left with only the wage replacement (indemnity) portion. But medical payments and wage replacement costs are inextricably linked, and divorcing them will cause confusion and destabilize a well-functioning system.

• Pinnacol does work with employers to keep workers safe and minimize the potential for injury, and work with providers to help injured workers get back to work in a timely and safe way. With ColoradoCare, workers may be away from their jobs longer, and wage replacement costs for employers will increase.

Why have other states that have tried single-payer left workers' compensation out of their efforts such as California or Vermont? Vermont was excited about single-payer concept until the costs were determined to be more than the entire tax haul of the state. Some items noted are increased costs to the employer, more administrative burdens, regulatory conflicts and coverage issues.

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As noted by other news sources:

• It is costly. $25 billion tax increase with no immediate ceiling on the taxes if/when revenue proves insufficient.

• It hits business owners and sole proprietors disproportionally more than other entity types where they would pay the entire 10 percent versus 6.67 percent, and we would all pay another 10 percent on our non-payroll income.

• It would limit health care choices, access and quality.

• It would be embedded in our Constitution, making it extremely hard to amend or repeal. Cementing an experiment in our Constitution makes no sense.

Under Amendment 69, all Coloradans will lose their current benefit plan, to be replaced by benefits yet to be determined, to be serviced by an entity yet to be identified, to include providers yet to be named. The Denver Post notes, "There are a lot of people in the U.S. who dream of single-payer health care. And what a dream it is!" What happened to Obamacare? Isn't that enough of a juggernaut or do we want to try something potentially far worse for Colorado?

Vote "no" on Amendment 69.

Randy Goodwin

Eagle