Scott Marr: Amendment 69 could be devastating
After reading and analyzing proposed Amendment 69 (a/k/a ColoradoCare), which is on the ballot this November, I am convinced that it is disastrous to our state’s small businesses, retirees, to our state and also to our community.
The measure, if passed, will basically double the annual budget of our state. The intent is to raise at least $25 billion dollars a year to fund our state’s health care. This funding is exempt from Tabor and will be embedded in our state constitution.
The amendment allows an independent, unaccountable board to manage this budget at its will. The independent board will set reimbursement rates to providers of medical services at “reasonable rates.” It will cover all medical expenses and worker’s comp expenses for citizens of our state. There is no copayment or deductible required of a patient for medical services. If more than $25 billion is needed, which independent studies already say is true, the board may decrease benefits accordingly, or request from the voters an increase in taxes.
A ten percent tax will be levied on all wages of participants, one-third to be covered by employees and two thirds to be covered by employers. In addition to these taxes, a 10 percent income tax will also be levied on all business income, dividends, interest, capital gains and retirement and Social Security income for all Colorado residents up to a cap of $350,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples.
In addition to the 6.66 percent increase in employment taxes for small businesses, our effective state income tax rate for non-payroll income will increase to 14.65 percent, making Colorado the most expensive state tax environment in the nation.
Seniors and retirees really need to look as well how this will impact you. If you are covered under Medicare for your medical expenses, you will still have to pay the 10 percent tax on your retirement and other earnings, without receiving the corresponding benefit of coverage under ColoradoCare. ($20,000 to $24,000 retirement income is exempt from the tax, depending on the retiree’s age).
Also, think about the impact that “free” healthcare will have to our state in terms of migration to Colorado from other states. If you are terminally ill and live in another state, what would keep you from moving here to get your “free” healthcare? I doubt that this cost has been taken into consideration by proponents of this amendment.
In summary, this is how I see the repercussions of this ballot issue if passed.
People who have significant non-salary earnings will leave the dtate. The best physicians will leave the dtate, since “reasonable rates” will more than likely be Medicare rates. Small business will inordinately suffer from this and pay a disproportionate share of this new tax. Retirees will be paying the tax for services that they already receive from Medicare.
We will have a substantial in-migration of people with medical problems from other states who decide to move to Colorado to take advantage of this new system. In other words, an exit of people who support the system and an influx of people who drain the system. And, since this is a constitutional amendment, if it passes, it will almost be impossible to ever change.
I hope that everyone will take the time to really study this amendment before casting your vote. The consequences of this Pandora’s Box, if passed, could be devastating.
Holiday Inn Steamboat Springs
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