Now that the midterms are over, the calls are growing louder in Washington about repealing health care reform.
But Colorado voters beg to disagree. On Election Day, when it came to health care reform, Colorado common sense prevailed. Colorado voters defeated Amendment 63, an attempt to roll back health care reform at the state level that would have raised costs and reduced access for Coloradans. A headline in the Denver Post put it best: "Colorado Stands Against Anti-Health Reform Tide."
Why did Amendment 63 fail when attempts in other states succeeded? Quite simply, because Colorado voters recognized the danger this posed to them and their families. Amendment 63 would not have affected federal health care law, but it would have damaged Colorado's own ability to determine its own future on health care.
In the words of Dr. Mike Pramenko, President of the Colorado Medical Society, "It would tie our hands at the state level."
The Denver Post editorialized strongly against the measure, pointing out that Amendment 63 "...would limit the options of state policymakers and put up a roadblock to reform."
And according to Alec Harris, an analyst at the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, "Amendment 63 would move Colorado toward a health care system that is more costly and has fewer consumer protections than exist today."
A diverse, Colorado-based coalition of grassroots organizations - the people on the frontlines of both health care services and policy in this state - came together to fight Amendment 63. It included the Colorado Medical Society (which represents some 7,000 doctors statewide), the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, the Colorado Children's Campaign, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Colorado Chapter, Children's Hospital, the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, and the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. Three University of Colorado regents publicly opposed the measure because of the threat it posed to student health care.
The day after the election, the Aurora Sentinel editorial board put it best, calling Amendment 63 "...a dangerous trojan horse."
They continued, "...this vague constitutional amendment would have created a huge backlash that would likely send the price of health-care insurance through the roof, making it hard to get, employing an army of lawyers at taxpayers' expense to unravel a certain legal morass, and make needed future health-care reform measures almost impossible to enact.
It was intended as a partisan slap at Congress, but it dragged the public into the political brawl."
Washington would also be smart not to get dragged into a partisan brawl, to listen to the common-sense voices here in Colorado, and keep the nation moving forward on health care reform.
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