The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Print Edition
Letter to the editor submissions
Have a strong opinion about something happening on campus or in Fort Collins? Want to respond to an article written on The Collegian? Write a Letter to the Editor by following the guidelines here.
Follow Us on Twitter
The Impact of Technological Innovations on Sports Betting in Colorado: A Primer
The Impact of Technological Innovations on Sports Betting in Colorado: A Primer
April 18, 2024

In the sports betting domain, Colorado stands as a unique arena where technological advancements have significantly reshaped the landscape. As...

Colorado amendment would create new state healthcare system

Colorado constitutional amendment 69 is one of nine statewide ballot measures substantiated to appear on the Colorado ballot this November.

The amendment would create a new healthcare system for the state known as ColoradoCare, which would implement a new payment procedure to finance universal healthcare for residents of Colorado.


Amendment 69 seeks to create Coloradocare, a new state level healthcare system. The new program is a universalized system. (Ryan Arb | Collegian)

The goal of the initiative is to distribute healthcare to all Colorado residents, despite financial circumstances, by collecting a premium based on the resident’s income.

If the amendment does not pass, Colorado’s current healthcare system will not change.

If voters choose to support Amendment 69, the new system will aim to contract with medical providers in order to pay for specific healthcare benefits as well as regulate Medicaid, basic health programs for children, and remaining state and federal healthcare funds. The amendment would designate ColoradoCare to pay for healthcare services despite the cause of a patient’s illness or injury.

The goal of the new system is to cover all state residents with healthcare. A few of the extensive benefits offered by ColoradoCare include hospitalization, rehabilitative services and devices, mental health services and chronic disease management.

Some supporters of the amendment said they support the benefits of ColoradoCare.

“I think that there’s value in the comprehensive benefits that are offered, for instance, mental health and women’s healthcare are important,” said Julie Liebenguth, a second year graduate student majoring in political science.

Additionally, ColoradoCare would substitute the medical care piece of workers’ compensation, remove deductibles and get rid of co-payments for preventive and primary care services.

“I think I’m just a proponent of universal healthcare in general, and I think it would be exciting if Colorado initiated the change throughout the country,” Liebenguth said.

If the amendment passes, the system will cost the state about $25 billion in tax dollars, according to ColoradoCareYes.


John Straayer, a professor in the CSU political science department, said the cost of ColoradoCare is an issue.

“The major problem is it’s a hard sell because it’s a terribly complicated measure,” Straayer said. “First of all, the price tag… is $25-26 billion. That’s a lot of money.”

The tax revenue would be generated partly through an additional ten percent income tax collected by the state. Two-thirds of the tax would be paid by the employer while the remaining one-third would be paid by employees, according to BallotPedia.

Additionally, a 10 percent tax would be placed on non-payroll income, exempting revenue from the Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights. A premium tax would also be implemented to most income sources, from salaries, wages and tips, to any Social Security benefits, pension payments and annuities that are not authorized for the Colorado pension/annuity subtraction.

“The taxpayers in Colorado on tax issues … for the last several decades have just voted ‘no, no, no,’” Straayer said. “They don’t want to pay… Do they want to vote ‘yes’ for something [that’s] $25 billion? I don’t think so. So, I think that the price tag is a problem.”

Although the cost of ColoradoCare appears high to some opponents of the amendment, proponents of the amendment say the tax would save the state money.

“It would actually save our state about $4.5 billion because the amount we would be paying in taxes would replace the amount we’re currently spending,” said Mahira Ganster, a member of Rams for ColoradoCare.

While Straayer disagrees with the cost of the system, he said the significance of the issue on the ballot is important.

“We’ve got winds in two different directions on healthcare,” Straayer said. “One of them is … that our healthcare system is a mess, and getting more and more expensive. There are people falling through the cracks.”

However, Straayer said he believes the amendment will fail due to some opposition’s belief that health care systems are socialistic.

“The opponents to this or to any single-payer healthcare system can appeal to that set of notions (of socialism) that’s been out there for so long,” Straayer said. “The wind, in that sense, blows against the success of something like this. (But) the problems (with the current system) and the cost of the existing system blow in favor of it.”

Marni Berg, a professor of Colorado State University’s Political Science department, opposes the amendment and does not think it will pass.

“It is a constitutional amendment, which I don’t understand,” Berg said. “Why (is) our funding bill part of the Constitution?… It would be one thing to have an amendment that healthcare is a basic right, but I don’t like having spending bills as part of our constitution because then it’s really hard to change anything … The whole U.S. has for profit insurance companies for healthcare which I think is a huge problem.”

Stayyer said the issue was complex and that he was not sure if the system would work as the first try.

“Something like this – I’m a bit ambivalent on it,” Staayer said. “I guess in my view I think it’s a bit complex, and a bit premature, but I do think it’s something that eventually has to come. I’m sympathetic to and in favor of the concept of a simplified and perhaps single-payer system, I’m just not sure this is the one, so I’m cross-pressured.”

Collegian reporter Haley Candelario can be reached at or on Twitter @H_Candelario98.

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
All The Rocky Mountain Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • D

    Donna YoungOct 6, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Supporting Amendment 69 was not a no-brainer for me. Because this is a complex issues, I thought a long time about whether I agreed that this change in how health care is paid for in Colorado was the right thing for us to do.

    Then, I thought about about how unsustainable and unfair our present system is, and I knew that I had to support this amendment.

    If your are looking for information about how Amendment 69 – ColoradoCare – will affect you, visit Less hype – more information.