Democrats are already looking beyond ObamaCare’s slow-motion failure, and Colorado is showing where many want to go next: Premiums across the state are set to rise 20.4% on average next year, and some have concluded that the solution is more central planning and taxation. Voters will decide on Nov. 8 whether to try the single-payer scheme that blew up in Vermont.
Amendment 69 would alter the state’s constitution to create a single-payer health system known as ColoradoCare. The idea is to replace premiums with tax dollars, and coverage for residents will allegedly include prescription drugs, hospitalization and more. Paying for this entitlement requires a cool $25 billion tax increase, which is about equal to the state’s $27 billion budget. Colorado would introduce a 10% payroll tax and also hit investment income, and that’s for starters.
So far the ballot initiative is not popular, and it is also opposed by the state’s Democratic governor. Still, it would write ColoradoCare into the state’s constitution, and if you run referenda enough times, etc. The broader point is that single-payer plans, whatever their virtues and flaws in toto, cannot work at the state level in the United States. The single state is not big enough to bargain down health care prices very much, and furthermore the state government has to run a balanced budget and, because of competition with other states, has only highly imperfect control over its own feasible level of taxation and expenditure. A single state cannot simply decide to “go Denmark,” for instance.
Hat tip goes to Christopher Balding.