Progressive Dream of Single-Payer Healthcare Goes Down Hard in Colorado

Bernie Sanders and Noam Chomsky backed the initiative, which failed spectacularly on Tuesday night.


Ingram Publishing/Newscom

Even as voters in Colorado were backing Hillary Clinton for president and approving new taxes on cigarettes and soda, they soundly rejected a proposal to increase payroll taxes to fund a statewide single-payer healthcare system.

With only a few precincts waiting to be reported on Wednesday morning, more than 79 percent of voters had opposed the initiative.

The single-payer health care system would have provided hospitalization, access to prescription drugs, and most primary and specialty care, but it came with a hefty price tag. Amendment 69 would have increased payroll taxes by 10 percent and generated about $25 billion in annual revenue to fund ColoradoCare.

The defeat was a thorough one. Amendment 69 failed to get even 40 percent of the vote in any Colorado county, according to results reported by Politico.

The city of Boulder became the third municipality in the country to approve a special tax on soda and sugary drinks, but the massive tax increase needed to fund ColoradoCare was too much for residents of the famously progressive part of the state to swallow. The single-payer initiative failed by a margin of nearly 2-to-1 in Boulder County.

The Amendment was pushed by a group of progressive activists including U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, filmmaker Michael Moore and philosopher Noam Chomsky, but opposed by the medical community in the state, Democractic Gov. John Hickenlooper and members of Congress from both parties.

Polls showed the initiative was likely to fail, but the degree of its defeat is notable for policymakers who are looking to craft changes to the federal Affordable Care Act. Progressives like Sanders have called for a transition away from Obamacare towards a government-run, single-payer system.

Opponents of Obamacare can point to Colorado's vote on Amendment 69 as evidence that Americans simply are not willing to shoulder the costs of a single-payer system.

This is now the second time an effort to create a state-level single-payer healthcare system has failed. Vermont tried to implement a similar proposal in 2011, but Gov. Peter Shumlin ultimately abandoned the project because it was too costly. In Vermont, it would have required an 11 percent payroll tax hike along with a 9 percent income tax increase.

Colorado's tax increases would have been less severe, but only slightly. With Colorado's identity as a swing state (as opposed to deep blue Vermont), the failure of Amendment 69 seems more significant as a guage of national policy.

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  1. And they legalized dope! Just build that wall around Colorado, President Trumputin! We must stop these renegades!

    1. Proggs are all about spreadin’ the wealth around, so long as it is not their wealth getting spread. The problem with Amendment 69 is that it made it far too obvious just who was going to get the bill.

      1. ^ This. If they had said ‘and only corporations and billionaires will pay more’ they would have signed onto it in a heartbeat, even if it was a lie. (Which it would be a lie, obviously, by necessity.)

    2. It will probably not happen again with any other drug in Colorado without some other state taking the plunge first, and a bunch of other possibilities that run counter to conservative views. No longer is Colorado the idea incubator with the “let’s give it a shot, what could it hurt?” attitude that leads the nation.

      Read up on Amendment 71, which gutted Coloradans’ power to experiment with propositions like that. The requirements shifted in a way that rural areas (opposed to legalization) with almost no population are given undue power over the whole population of the state. It will now be easier for them to mobilize opposition to getting signatures for proposals and hold the state hostage.

  2. Yeah, Eric, I reported that last night. Geesh

    1. Look, cocktail parties do not leave you a lot of time to write stuff.

  3. But they approved the minimum wage increase and stupid ballot and primary initiatives. Assholes.

    BTW Eric, the word is gauge, not ‘guage.’ /pendantic

    1. /pendantic

      I think you meant “/pedantic” /uber pedantic

  4. But they approved the minimum wage initiative. Assholes.

    Eric, you may want to check the spelling on your ‘guage’. Just sayin’.

    1. effin squirrels!

        1. LOL! Thanks!

        2. You are gonna regret posting that.

    2. I’ve been noticing you have to refresh a couple of times for comments to finally appear today. I guess the squirrels are all worked up today for some reason. Did something big happen last night?

  5. I’ve repeatedly pointed this out to progs who say “bet we can morph Obamacare into single payer”. Americans don’t really want single payer. It would be even more unpopular than Obamacare because vast swaths of people would receive a lower quality of healthcare.

    1. Thats why you dont give them a choice. Just wait democrat control of govt again and ram it through. Like the 1965 Medicare bill.

    2. “If you think healthcare is expensive now, just wait till it’s free.”

    3. For some it’s the quality, but for most it’s the massive and onerous tax increases that will be necessary for even substandard quality.

  6. Oh Boulder. Does anyone even drink soda in Boulder?

    1. All natural soda from whole foods

    2. Only if it’s made in a hipters basement from artisinal sasparilla.

    3. No. That’s why they voted for the tax. It doesn’t affect them.

    4. Gotta drive up the price of cheap soda, so outrageously priced hipster drinks are more competitive.

  7. “Even as voters in Colorado were backing Hillary Clinton for president and approving new taxes on cigarettes and soda…”

    The statewide cigarette tax increase failed.

  8. Some of the hardcore lefties I’ve interacted with* at my kid’s school functions supported the amendment in principle, but said they couldn’t vote for it because single payer needs to be established at the national level.

    *Their opinion on the matter was unsolicited of course; to be an urbane leftist one must assume that anyone within their range not wearing hunting gear must agree with their ideas.

    1. So they realize that the tax base is too small, and that their share would be too great? That’s remarkably insightful.

    2. It isn’t fair unless everyone is forced to participate.

  9. The initiatives in Florida went pretty well. The horrible, utility-backed (trying to preserve their monopolies) anti-solar power amendment was defeated soundly, and medical marijuana was approved soundly.

    1. I didnt see how it could support a monopoly as all it said was you have a right to solar and you cant force others to subsidize it. But I voted against it anyway since the constitution is already f’d up enough with special interest clauses.

  10. I could have sworn Noam Chomsky was dead. WTF?

  11. I could have sworn Noam Chomsky was dead. WTF?

    1. The squirellz say no.

    2. Its the Mandela Effect! /Sarc

  12. I spent 10 years as a day skiing, night time bar tending, pot smoking Capitol Hill in Denver piece of White Shit. Hated Boulder and the cunty social welfare schemes that came out of there even though they would’ve personally helped me. It’s gotta be the Californian transplants pushing these things because even in my idiot early twenties I knew not to trust the government to take care of me.

    1. It’s gotta be the Californian transplants pushing these things

      They’ve been trying there level ass best for years to turn Colorado into East California, unfortunately.

  13. Look, every progressive knows that when taxes are raised for these types of programs they aren’t the one’s who will be paying. It should be ‘rich corporations’ or ‘billionaires’. They are always, and I mean always, shocked and dismayed when they find out they are expected to actually pony up.

    Apparently, this group of individuals are too retarded to understand the word ‘Universal’ combined with a reflexive habit of voting according to their jealousy. They certainly dress that all up to make it look like ‘we care about the oppressed’ but really they don’t give much of a shit about that in my experience. If you suggest they actually go out and volunteer, they’d probably choke on their craft beer that costs $12 a bottle. Priorities, you understand.

  14. The progressive dream of single payer went down hard nationally with Hillary last night, too.

    We dodged a bullet on that.

    We might have ObamaCare repealed within Trump’s first 100 days.

    If Hillary had won and the Democrats had taken control of the Senate, we might have had the public option within 100 days of Hillary’s inauguration.

    And the road to single payer is paved with the public option.

    1. Ken, if you thought we were bad at predicting this election, check out the comments on this. And these idiots have their real names by their comments. I’m loving this. *From KDN’s link in the a.m.’s.

  15. The tobacco tax increase did not go through, at least per Google’s results

  16. Why in the hell would anyone care what Bernie Sanders has to say about statewide issues in Colorado? Had Bernie ever even crossed the Mississippi before he decided to run for president?

  17. Even as voters in Colorado were backing Hillary Clinton for president and approving new taxes on cigarettes and soda, they soundly rejected a proposal to increase payroll taxes to fund a statewide single-payer healthcare system.

    What new taxes on cigarettes and sodas? Amendment 72 (cig tax hike) went down to defeat*, and I don’t recall any new soda taxes being on the ballot. Although voters here did approve a minimum wage hike up to $12/hr by 2020. So it was a mixed bag at best.

    *One of the highlights of the night was watching some dumb bitch complain about her precious cigarette tax getting defeated thanks to “EVUL MONEY N POLITIKZ” and crying about “WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF TEH CHILDRENZ!1!!11!1!!!!!!” First of many proggie tears of the the night, and they were as yummy as expected.

    1. The city of Boulder became the third municipality in the country to approve a special tax on soda and sugary drinks

      Ah, that explains the soda tax. I don’t live in the People’s Republic of Boulder so I didn’t have that one on my ballot.

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