Should Colorado Opt Out of the Federal Health-Care Plan?

March 2011

Lawmakers are still at war over health care at the state Legislature, where Republican leaders have introduced a bill that would allow Colorado to join with other states in a pact to opt out of President Barack Obama's health-care plan. While Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp says the measure is about local control and challenging "bureaucrats in Washington," Democratic Senator Lois Tochtrop says the GOP is standing in the way of more accessible and affordable health care (Denver Business Journal). She predicts the bill will die in the Senate, where Democrats are in control.

At the same time, Democrats are advancing a measure to allow voters to decide whether to create a universal health-care cooperative (Denver Daily News). Senator Shawn Mitchell, a Broomfield Republican, says a universal system would drive private health care out of Colorado and put residents at the "mercy of that politically administered system." Senator Irene Aguilar, the Denver Democrat and physician who wrote the bill, disagrees with both of those characterizations, adding that the measure will help cover the tens of thousands of Coloradans who don't have insurance. But the private health-insurance industry is lining up in opposition, arguing the state would miss out on $200 million in taxes from premiums and as many as 20,000 people would be out of work.