Eye on the Legislature


October 10, 2016


Each week, this column continues to disclose the latest efforts by ColoradoCampaign Yes for passage of Amendment 69. Today brings what is probably the most damning and strongest of all opposition to Amendment 69 and the most profound of reasons for Colorado to soundly defeat Amendment 69.

Some months back, May 19, 2016 to be exact, Kaiser Permanente (Kaiser) issued a news release/statement announcing its opposition and urging for Coloradans to defeat Amendment 69 which will be quoted from liberally by this writer.

Kaiser has a long history of supporting affordable access to high-quality health care. "From our earliest days providing health care to workers in the Kaiser shipyards of World War II to our current programs and investments aimed at improving community health, care-and-coverage-for-all has been central to our mission."

Kaiser describes "ColoradoCare" as a proposed constitutional amendment seeking to create a single payer health care system which would provide the financing and delivery of health-related services for nearly all Coloradans.

Kaiser's statement goes on to say that "after lengthy analysis and discussion among our physicians and health plan leadership, both in Colorado and across our national organization, Kaiser Permanent strongly opposes Amendment 69, and we'd like to explain why we have taken this important.

Here are the reasons provided by Kaiser for its adamant opposition:

  • Amendment 69 is not the right answer for Colorado.
  • The amendment's language does not explicitly address operational costs, full coverage options, access to care, regulatory authority or transparency within the newly created system.
  • The intricacies and unknowns of this proposal jeopardize the care and coverage options that Kaiser Permanent members, and consumers alike have come to expect and rely on. 
  • We believe that this amendment undermines the significant progress that has been made in Colorado through the implementation of health care reform and the Affordable Care Act.
  • Following major accomplishments in reducing the number of uninsured, eliminating pre-existing conditions, establishing our state based marketplace for health insurance options, and creating essential health benefits that must be covered in all cases, Kaiser Permanente has supported health care reform every step of the way. Amendment 69 would undo these achievements, placing significant risk on our members during a lengthy and complicated transition to a new government-managed health care entity. The disruption to the system as a whole might be devastating.

   Kaiser summed up the basis for its opposition this way:  "As the state's largest non-profit health plan, Kaiser Permanent is concerned about the future of our unique integrated health care delivery system with the possible passage of Amendment 69.

Kaiser then voiced concern about the future by saying, "Our goal is to continue to deliver care in the communities we serve for years to come and this may not be possible under the new system."

The final statement of Kaiser's new release:  "For these reasons, we are standing with a diverse group of partners in Colorado's medical community, business, labor, economic development, tourism, agriculture, construction, land use development and information technology industries to defeat Amendment 69.

   The following paragraphs are provided each week as a reminder of the critical controlling points for the ColoradoCare Amendment 69 that Coloradans will be voting on in November. 

  • All Coloradans will lose their current benefit plan to be replaced by benefits yet to be determined, to be serviced by an entity yet to be identified, to include providers yet to be named.
  •  Readers are cautioned that anything you read or hear about Amendment 69 means ColoradoCare is across the board totally exempt from the Taxpayers Bill of Rights. There will be no restriction on the tax (premiums) the governing board can impose on you the citizens of Colorado. (Section 10. Exemption. ColoradoCare and this article are exempt from Section 20 of Article X of the Colorado Constitution. [Article X is the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (aka TABOR)].

Further caution - Section 3. There is hereby established a political subdivision of the state called ColoradoCare. ColoradoCare is not an agency of the state and is not subject to administrative direction or control by any state executive, department, commission, board, bureau or agency.  

The reader's comments or questions are always welcome. E-mail me at doris@dorisbeaver.com.