September 20, 2019 | Updates

Study: Public Option Could Hurt Colorado Families, Cost State Jobs

WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, a study released last week found that an effort to implement the public option in Colorado “could imperil thousands of jobs in the health-care industry or take hundreds of millions of dollars out of the state’s economy,” the Denver Business Journal reports.  And in a story headlined “Colorado public health care option could hurt economy, says business group’s report,” Colorado Politics adds:

The report estimates that the state’s individual health insurance market would lose 80% to 100% of its membership and 1,500 to 4,500 health care workers in Colorado could lose their jobs.
… The report concludes that lawmakers in Colorado should “think carefully” before adopting a public option.
“Expanding health care coverage and access to affordable and high-quality care is a goal broadly shared across Colorado,” says the report.  “However, as policymakers and stakeholders strive to reach that goal, there is a real danger well-intentioned proposals could cause more harm than good.”

Already, high costs and unaffordable tax hikes have doomed similar attempts to implement one-size-fits-all health care on the state level:

  • The New York Times editorial board acknowledged recently that “[i]n Vermont and Colorado, legislators dropped bids for a state-run single-payer system when it became clear that people would not support the tax increases needed to sustain such a program.”
  • Roll Call reported that Vermont’s Democratic governor, who campaigned on a platform of single-payer health care, later admitted that the 11.5 percent payroll tax and 9.5 percent income tax that were proposed to finance the system were too much for taxpayers to accept: “The final bill was too much for the state to bear, he said.  ‘The biggest problem was money,’ Shumlin said at Harvard.  And he couldn’t promise lawmakers that they wouldn’t need to hike taxes again later to accommodate rising health care costs.  ‘I couldn’t with a straight face turn to them and say, no, we’ve got this figured out,’ he said.”
  • The Washington Post reported that the failed attempt to implement a costly government-run system in Vermont “offers sobering lessons for the current crop of Democrats running for president, including Vermont’s own Sen. Bernie Sanders (I), most of whom embrace Medicare-for-all,” adding: “Then as now, many of the advocates shared ‘a belief that borders on the theological’ that such a system would save money, as one analyst put it – even though no one knew what it would cost when it passed in Vermont.  That belief would prove naive.”
  • In a recent interview with The AtlanticDemocratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was blunt about the political and fiscal realities of implementing a government-run health care system in the Empire State, saying “no sane person will pass it,” and “you’d double everybody’s taxes” to pay for it.



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