Members of a small business advocacy group responding to a survey were nearly unanimous in their opposition to a ballot measure that would implement a single-payer health care system in Colorado.
“Our members are fed up with the mess state and federal governments have made with health care, and they see Amendment 69 as potentially the mother of all messes,” said Tony Gagliardi, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business in Colorado.
A debate on Amendment 69 is set for 11:30 a.m. June 23 at the Colorado Mesa University Center in Grand Junction.
The NFIB sent a survey by e-mail and fax to nearly 5,000 members and asked two questions. Should voters approve Amendment 69 in November? Should the NFIB become involved in the issue?
Fully 98 percent of NFIB members responding to the survey said the so-called ColoradoCare measure should not be approved, while 2 percent said the measure should be approved. Meanwhile, 93 percent said the NFIB should become involved, 3 percent said the group should not get involved and 4 percent were undecided.
If approved, Amendment 69 would implement a comprehensive health care system funded by a 10 percent tax divided at 6.67 percent for employers and 3.33 percent for employees. Those earning income other than that from payrolls also would pay a 10 percent tax.
People would choose their medical providers, but the bills would be paid by the ColoradoCare system rather than private insurers. A 21-member board with elected officials from across the state would oversee the system.
It’s estimated ColoradoCare would raise $25 billion annually in taxes. Opponents of the measure say the tax would hurt existing businesses while discouraging new businesses.
Proponents of Amendment 69 say that still would be less than the $30 billion Coloradans collectively spend on health care costs each year. ColoradoCare proponents also say employers that offer health insurance typically pay more for premiums that they would pay for a 6.7 percent payroll tax.
Gagliardi said the rising cost of providing health care insurance has ranked among the top concerns of small business owners for 30 years.
But members of the group don’t trust the government to effectively address the issue, he said. “It’s not hard to see why they are hugely apprehensive about the special branch of government Amendment 69 would create and the cost of running a single-payer system that starts out the size of our entire state’s budget.”