Will Colorado Become the First State to Implement Single-Payer Health Care?

Tuesday, 20 October 2015
by Michael Corcoran, Truthout | Report

The fight for a statewide single-payer health-care system has shifted from the Green Mountains to the Rocky Mountains: Colorado citizens are about to put single-payer up for a statewide ballot referendum in the 2016 election. If voters approve, the state constitution will be amended to create a statewide, publicly financed, universal system for the first time in US history.

After a long struggle, Vermont's proposal for a similar plan died in January 2015, after a decision by the governor to abandon the plan. Green Mountain Care, as it was known, is the closest any state has come to implementing a public health-care system that covers everyone. So the failure was a major disappointment for advocates for social justice everywhere. But the setback didn't stop activists in states across the country from pursuing similar reforms. Many in these states watched events in Vermont closely - to see what worked and what didn't and to avoid the pitfalls that proved fatal.

Colorado has been especially active, and activists are set to turn in more than 150,000 signatures (about 99,000 are required) to put health reform on the 2016 ballot, said Lyn Gullette, campaign director for ColoradoCareYES. Organizers say they are optimistic that their strategy will succeed where Vermont's failed - and that when ballots are cast in 2016, public, universal health care may become a reality in Colorado.

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