The state of Colorado may be breaking new ground once again, blazing a trail that the rest of the United States should soon follow. ColoradoCareYes, a healthcare advocacy group, has collected 100,000 signatures in favor of putting Initiative 20 on the 2016 ballot – a plan to institute a single-payer universal healthcare system, of the style that Canada and most other advanced nations have.
ColoradoCare is a resident-owned, non-governmental health care financing system designed to ensure comprehensive, quality, accessible, lifetime health care for every Colorado resident. The benefit package would enhance the comprehensive health care services required by Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Premiums would be collected from Coloradans based on income, securing health care regardless of financial circumstance. This efficient, universal system would operate in the interests of Coloradans. By eliminating layers of bureaucracy and reducing administrative and other nonmedical costs, ColoradoCare would cover all residents and cost less than the current system.
It is a monumental proposal that could change the face of our nation. It sets of precedent of recognizing that access to quality healthcare is a right, not a privilege to be awarded to those who can afford it. The current American healthcare insurance system has resulted in giant corporations running roughshod over the American people, extorting us with outrageously inflated prices and shoving us into debt, making millions off of our pain and suffering, holding our lives hostage. The Affordable Care Act has made great strides to rectify this problem, but it’s not enough.
This is an incredible first step, and if it passes, could change the face of our nation and improve the lives of countless Americans. Colorado has shown us before that they have the stones to make bold and controversial political decisions, like when they became one of the first states to legalize marijuana in 2012. Let’s hope they make the right decision.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.