Tuesday, August 16, 2016

CO voters will decide on at least four initiatives

Posted By on Tue, Aug 16, 2016 at 2:35 PM

  • Theresa Thompson

This November, voters will be deciding on more than Hillary or Trump. They'll be changing Colorado law.

Four citizen-driven initiatives have been approved for the Colorado ballot thus far. Here's a quick round up of what you'll be voting on:

Amendment 69/ColoradoCare - ColoradoCare would amend the state Constitution to bring a tax-funded health insurance system to Colorado. Everyone not already covered under federal insurance like Medicare would be eligible for coverage, which would include copays for certain services but no deductibles. ColoradoCare would replace private insurance for Coloradans, though those who still want to purchase private insurance (while also paying the tax), would be free to do so.

An independent analysis by Colorado Health Institute estimates that ColoradoCare would bring in $36 billion in its first year and cover 4.4 million people. It would be run by a board of directors and would likely go into effect in 2019, after a preliminary period where it would charge a tax of .09 percent. When running, it would be funded mainly by a 10 percent income tax, two-thirds of which would be paid by employers, and one-third of which would be paid by employees. The self-employed would pay the full 10 percent tax.

Additionally, ColoradoCare would seek waivers to gain access to federal and state funds that currently flow into the health care system, including Medicaid dollars.

Minimum wage — This Constitutional amendment would raise the minimum wage from $8.31 an hour to $12 by 2020.

The campaign behind the ballot question, Colorado Families for a Fair Wage, claims that the change would effect nearly half a million workers, 86 percent of whom are over the age of 20. The Colorado Center on Law and Policy, which supports the ballot question, says that giving low-earning Coloradans a raise would not only better their personal lives, but the economy by putting “more money in the pockets of workers to spend in the state and helping communities thrive.”

Of course, not everyone is happy about the prospect of a higher minimum wage. The Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity Colorado released a statement claiming that raising the minimum wage won’t reduce poverty and will reduce the number of jobs in the state by tens of thousands.

Medical aid in dying — As the title suggests, this change to the Colorado Revised Statutes would allow a terminally ill, mentally-competent adult to obtain a prescription to end their life. The patient would need to be within six months of death, and would self-administer the lethal dose. There are protections written into the law to ensure the patient is mentally sound, and that they are choosing to terminate their life of their own free will.

Amending the Constitution — Interestingly, this Constitutional amendment aims to make it harder to amend the Constitution in the future. First, it would require more signatures to place a measure on the ballot, setting that figure at "at least two percent of the registered electors who reside in each state senate district for the amendment to be placed on the ballot."  
Once on the ballot, the amendment would need to be approved by 55 percent of the votes cast rather than a simple majority. 

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