After Sherry Plowman, a Bayfield nurse, had a heart attack, she was billed more than $100 for a $1 bag of saline.
“Current health insurance is comprised of outrageous artificial pricing,” she said.
ColoradoCare could help control costs for both employees and employers because it would cut out the complexity of the insurance industry, said state Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver. It would also cover every state resident if it passed in November, Aguilar told a group of about 30 gathered at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Wednesday. To fund ColoradoCare, the state would raise payroll taxes by 3.33 percent on employees and by 6.67 percent on employers. All other kinds of income would be taxed at 10 percent.
This would raise $25 billion in the first year. Through these taxes, residents across the state could save money on their health care because they would no longer pay deductibles or premiums, Aguilar said.
For those with Medicare, ColoradoCare would be a supplemental insurance. The system could bring down health care rates driven by negotiations between insurance providers and health care providers. Under the new system, ColoradoCare would negotiate directly for rates based on quality, she said.
“We want to try and take back our health care system,” she said. This new system would replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, in Colorado. If ColoradoCare did pass, it could be implemented by July 2018, she said.
ColoradoCare has some skeptics, including Sen. Michael Bennet, Gov. John Hickenlooper and state Rep. J Paul Brown, R-Ignacio.
Brown believes eliminating competition in favor of ColoradoCare would not improve the system. The higher taxes would double state spending for the program, he said. Because it would be an amendment to the state constitution, it would also be difficult to reverse.
Brown said many have been frustrated by Obamacare because of the higher costs, but this is not the solution, he said. “You’re not going to fix it with ColoradoCare,” he said.