Voters in Colorado will decide the fate of Amendment 63 next month, and the issue is definitely one of the more divisive ones on our ballot this year. The Denver Post ran a couple of editorials over the weekend that address both sides of the debate, and they’re both worth reading. Bob Semro, a policy analyst with the Bell Policy Center, explains why Amendment 63 is a bad idea, while Jon Caldera and Linda Gorman, both with the Independence Institute, detail the virtues of Amendment 63.
Personally, I’m not a fan of Amendment 63, as I believe that guaranteed issue health insurance cannot succeed unless everyone is insured. But I can understand the concerns people have about not wanting to be forced to purchase private health insurance, or any other commodity. The thing that bothers me about Amendment 63 is that it does not attempt to repeal the requirement that health insurance be guaranteed issue for everyone who applies staring in 2014. If the amendment were trying to just undo the PPACA (and maybe start over with something new?), I would be much more understanding of the group’s position. But instead, proponents of Amendment 63 want to have their cake and eat it too. They are perfectly happy to force health insurance companies to take on the risk of insuring people with pre-existing conditions, but they don’t want a mandate requiring them to purchase health insurance. I don’t believe that there is any way for private health insurance to be sustainable or affordable if it is guaranteed issue with no requirement that everyone be insured. And I’m concerned that the proponents of Amendment 63 seem to want to keep a lot of the consumer protection elements of the PPACA, but do away with the consumer responsibility parts.
Both sides of the debate have definitely raised some good points, and it remains to be seen what the voters will say. If you’re a Colorado voter and unsure of where you stand on the issue, you can read the text of the amendment and also check out the editorials I mentioned above for the opposing viewpoints.