FORBES – Secretary Clinton: Oppose Amendment 69, The “Leave Work in Colorado” Plan
Author: Travis H. Brown
Last week, Secretary Hillary Clinton detailed her economic plans for America. Part of that speech included that she will defend and improve the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Hillary said that for her, “that includes giving Americans, in every state, a choice of a public option health insurance plan that will help everybody afford coverage, it will strengthen competition, and drive down costs.” Given her past experience and history with how the Affordable Care Act has played out in states, America has a right to expect her leadership before one of her most important battlegrounds state votes this fall: Colorado.
This November, Amendment 69 will be on the Colorado ballot during the same day as Secretary Clinton. Last year, Hillary implied in a speech in Boulder, CO that “states can help lead the way [on some kind of affordable health care plan].” However, Colorado Amendment 69 (often called ColoradoCare) contains none of the goals now in her “Make It in America” proposal. That is precisely why she should speak out clearly against Amendment 69 now before the rest of Americans learn about this job killing idea.
Colorado’s Amendment 69 would eliminate choice and competition within healthcare to create a single payer health system with a twenty-one member politburo of non-elected trustees. Instituting a $25 billion series of payroll taxes against work in the Centennial State to pay for this ACA carve-out would make this America’s largest crusade against working taxpayers within any state. Today, Colorado enjoys an unemployment rate hovering near four percent, a youthful workforce with over one million millennials, and a decent business climate that has attracted over $17 billion of net adjusted gross income since 1992.
The fuel that sustains and drives the growth within the Colorado economy is related to all kinds of payroll-driven services: over 400,000 Coloradans working in professional and business services, over 320,000 working in leisure and hospitality services, and over 260,000 citizens working in financial and other service categories. Even if we would assume, for the sake of the proponent’s argument, that the healthcare sector jobs and services would “convert” to this government mandate, Colorado would immediately start shedding tens of thousands of jobs even with a modest behavioral change among employers.
Passing Amendment 69 could make the state income tax burdens of California (highest rate now 13.3%) look reasonable, reversing the prevailing trend of nearly 80,000 California taxpayers bringing their Silicon Valley innovations to places like Boulder County, CO today. For every car full of workers leaving the Front Range to follow new work elsewhere, there would be another car full of non-workers seeking government benefits on the backs of Colorado taxpayers that have too much steel, acreage, or bricks in the ground to exit. Just like Secretary Clinton’s trade policy that she would stop any trade deal that kills jobs or holds down wages, she should declare this Amendment bad for Coloradans as she campaigns there.
f you tax work at all levels of payroll, you are sure to get less work. If one state thinks that their Constitutional committee can rebase a national healthcare market that is now experiencing average premium rate shocks of 18 to 23% into 2017, America will suffer more than just state health exchanges going belly up. Thus, Secretary Clinton should urge citizens to oppose Amendment 69 to avoid this “Leave Work in Colorado” experiment. For those that want an effective public option that truly competes for better solutions, there’s no need to bankrupt an otherwise good state just for lofty national inspirations.