When soliciting signatures for Colorado Care, now Amendment 69, I would remind people signing the petition did not require them to support it if on the ballot. My goal was to move a health care plan to the public forum so to debate its pros and cons.
That made sense philosophically and practically. While at first glance I was impressed with the plan that would essentially provide health care for all Coloradans and would annually redirect billions of dollars from corporate pockets back to those who earned it, I wasn’t 100 percent sold. It’s the skeptic in me, one with a critical eye for snake oil and its salesmen.
Questions arose. The wisdom of carving it into the constitution rather than a law? Who and what would be covered? Would it enable individuals who make poor health choices? What about the financial impact on individuals, small businesses, and the economy? What about unseen, unintended, adverse outcomes, given one can never do just one thing.
I studied the plan knowing that getting into its weeds, as it is for the vast majority of voters, would be challenging. I engaged in serious conversations with intelligent, well-read, and thoughtful people, who otherwise agree on a host of social-political issues, with differing takes on the plan’s impacts and efficacy.
One would think the vast majority of progressives would support Colorado Care as one assumes conservatives and libertarians would oppose it in kneejerk fashion given their antipathy to anything public. But that wasn’t the case. NARAL, the national abortion rights league, Planned Parenthood, and the advocacy group Progress Now declared their opposition. So, I listened carefully to their arguments.
After reflecting on all I learned, I came to my studied conclusion: The pros of Colorado Care far outweigh the cons.
Yes, it will cost me money since I’m old and personally benefit from the public healthcare called Medicare. Yes, I could stick my head in the sand and deny my social obligations, but I knew my conscience wouldn’t allow me to sleep peacefully the rest of my life. Besides I reasoned, I am already paying for people who make poor health decisions and for those who face catastrophic health concerns because of genetics or other circumstances. Emergency rooms and urgent care facilities come with a great price.
I have friends who own small businesses who would assume a financial burden they currently don’t have. They’ll be required to ante up 6.7 percent of their employees’ wages and 10 percent if self-employed. That stinks, but that’s the American way, one which makes sense only to Americans. No other developed country saddles its businesses with health care costs.
I understand my liberal colleagues’ angst about potentially making it difficult for women to have an abortion given the state’s ban on using public funds for them and their conundrum of choosing between a woman’s reproductive rights and the right to health care for every person.
I understand emasculating the health insurance industry would force its workers to find other work.
I understand all of that. Nonetheless, I’ve concluded the greater good would be served with Colorado Care.
The universe of human rights is not a zero-sum game, with winners and losers. The Declaration of Independence doesn’t qualify all men being created equal with the caveat that principle being dependent upon personal wealth.
Health care is a right, not a privilege; and like every other right, it ought not to be doled out piecemeal, with some having more and others less or none.
Twenty-five percent of Coloradans face each day without coverage or being marginally covered. So, it’s likely you know at least one. Premiums, deductibles, and co-pays inexorably continue their obscene escalations in the name of corporate profit.
The reality: Our current system is an unhealthy, ever-gorging obesity unfit for a great people.
Despite shortcomings, Colorado Care offers a reasonably sound plan that would rectify an unethical, economically unfeasible, and inefficient health care system.
Life is filled with choices: A Big Mac or a lean turkey sandwich? Chips or salad? Big Gulp or juice? Couch potato or 20-minute brisk walk?
The current system or Colorado Care? Which will promote the general welfare, advance the greater good?
You choose. It matters.