A model for state-level action on real universal health care is on the ballot in Colorado, but under siege from big corporate money and the usual vested interests, as activist Sydney Jacobs recounts.

 /By Sydney Jacobs/ There’s a ground-breaking amendment on the ballot in Colorado this year that could be a game changer in healthcare reform for everyone.  If passed in November, Amendment 69 - aka ColoradoCare - will bring universal coverage to all residents of that state. The stakes are very high – if voters say YES, they are declaring that healthcare is a human right and it will free residents from the shackles of the insurance industry. Once other states see Colorado’s successful transition, many will likely enact similar reforms. However, a NO vote will set back efforts towards universal coverage at all governmental levels across the entire country.

 ColoradoCare will ensure quality, comprehensive, cradle-to-grave healthcare for every resident. Premiums will be collected based on income. For residents 18-65 this tax will replace insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays for primary and preventive care.  Seniors will continue to get Medicare, with ColoradoCare serving as secondary coverage. The state will save billions of dollars by reducing high administrative and other non-medical costs. Providers will be able to focus their resources on patient care instead of the monstrous insurance bureaucracy.  Colorado residents will own the financing system that will be run by an elected 21 member Board. 

 You can find out more about the Colorado plan at http://www.coloradocare.org/splash/ . Please consider making a donation to supporters who are being outspent 8 to 1 by out-of-state insurance corporate interests.

 Although all eyes are now on Colorado’s effort to enact universal healthcare, advocates in other states are doing important work for single-payer reform. There is currently not much activity in Maryland; however, a coalition under the banner Health Care is a Human Right – MD is trying to build a larger base of activists around the state. To learn more visit http://www.healthcareisahumanrightmaryland.org/

 Sydney Jacobs is a Prince George’s activist with particular interests in environmental, health and gun reform issues.