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Coloradans to vote on ‘single payer’ health insurance proposal

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DENVER -- The November election involves more than just presidential and congressional candidates. In Colorado, a  number of ballot initiatives will take place, including a vote on Amendment 69.

Amendment 69 would establish Colorado Care, a single-payer government-run health insurer that would be the first of its kind in the country.

“We are going to lead the country to universal health care. We should have done this decades ago,” said T.R. Reid, a leader in the movement and author of the New York Times bestselling the "Healing of America."

Under the plan, private health insurance would likely cease to exist in the state. Instead a 21-member elected board would administer the coverage on behalf of the government.

It would cost more than $30 billion and it would be paid for with a 6.6 percent increase in employers' payroll taxes and a 3.3 percent increase in employees' payroll taxes.

Co-pays and deductibles would be eliminated under Colorado Care. Reid argues any tax increase would be cheaper than what businesses and employees are paying for premiums currently.

“Nobody likes insurance companies. Our strongest asset is we will take away out of state control from  insurance companies,” Reid said.

The Denver Chamber of Commerce calls this a bad idea.

“There is no guarantee of what you get in exchange,” said Kelly Brough, president of the chamber.

Brough said it will add more than $30 billion to the state budget with tax increases that kill jobs.

“I think we could lose some of the best health professionals who move to other states,” Brough said.

Both sides have active websites that feature their own data and analysis.

Bernie Sanders is expected to campaign for the measure in the months to come.

Prominent Democrats, like Gov. John Hickenlooper, have come out against the plan.