In Colorado, Green Party’s Jill Stein won’t endorse the ColoradoCare universal healthcare ballot measure

In Colorado, Green Party’s Jill Stein won’t endorse the ColoradoCare universal healthcare ballot measure


COLORADO SPRINGS — Days after Bernie Sanders officially backed a ballot measure in Colorado that would create the first universal healthcare system in the nation, the Green Party’s presidential nominee, Jill Stein, said she is not ready to endorse the plan.

“I don’t want to throw my weight behind an endorsement at this point,” Stein told The Colorado Independent in a sit-down interview before a packed speech at a downtown Unitarian Universalist church. “But I would certainly respect anyone who sees fit to work on it.”

Stein said she supports a “complete single-payer program” at the federal level.

The physician from Massachusetts is in Colorado for the day on a campaign swing along the Front Range.

ColoradoCare, she said, has important principles and has inspired voters to mobilize in Colorado, which underscores the need for what she called “comprehensive and secure” healthcare. But she said she has concerns about gaps and loopholes in the measure— she did not specify what they are— and has questions about whether those shortcomings could be “filled in.”

In Colorado, the measure has divided Democrats. The state’s leading progressive group, ProgressNow, recently came out against it, and the state’s Democratic establishment have largely panned the proposal. Some worry about large new taxes, while others, like the pro-choice NARAL of Colorado, have concerns the plan would restrict abortion access.

Related: Sen. Irene Aguilar discusses ColoradoCare’s terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week

Asked if she would urge her supporters in Colorado to vote for the measure, which will be on the ballot in November, Stein said she would leave it up to them.

“I know our supporters are actually split,” she said. “And there are many who have been very involved intensively and there are others who praise the movement but who aren’t actively involved.”

In October, Sanders told The Colorado Independent in a statement he believed the state could “lead the nation” by passing ColoradoCare. But he officially endorsed the measure this week through his new group Our Revolution.

In Colorado, Stein’s supporters who met her at a downtown park and marched with her through the downtown streets to the church, loudly criticized Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton more than Donald Trump.

“Hell no to DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary,” they chanted at times.

Stein has about 7 percent support in Colorado, a state with about 10,000 registered Greens, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll, and she is likely angling for the votes of disaffected supporters of Bernie Sanders, who beat Clinton by 19 points in the March 1 caucuses here.

But Stein’s non-endorsement for the ColoradoCare measure puts her at odds with the Green Party’s U.S. Senate nominee in Colorado, Arn Menconi, a full-throated supporter of the measure, which is also called Amendment 69.

“People want her to take a leadership role on Amendment 69,” Menconi said of Stein outside the church, following the Stein speech. Menconi said while leadership in the state Green Party is not fully supportive of the measure, most members he has spoken with throughout his campaign are and he hans’t heard anyone but a state co-chair for the party raise concerns about the plan.

Both Menconi’s major-party opponents in the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Darryl Glenn, oppose ColoradoCare. Libertarian nominee Lilly Tang Williams is also against it.

Menconi said he would work on Stein throughout her campaign visit to Colorado.

“I’ll bet you we’ll see a change in 48 hours,” he said.

UPDATE: Stein later appeared in Denver, where she addressed the ColoradoCare ballot measure to a crowd at the beginning of a speech.

“It’s so awesome to be here in Colorado where you are leading the charge in so many ways starting with marijuana legalization … and now on this Amendment 69 you are moving us forward … and by the way Amendment 69 shows why we also need improved Medicare for all at the national level,” Stein said. “Because we need the enabling legislation at the national level in order to make it possible to really have the streamlined merger into a single-payer system. Ultimately that’s where we want to go, but measure 69 gets us started and that’s critical. Thank you for leading the way.”

She also called for an improved Medicare-for-all system at the national level, adding, “We support what Colorado is doing with Amendment 69 to get us along that pathway.”

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About the Author

Corey Hutchins

is a journalist in Colorado, and Columbia Journalism Review's Rocky Mountain correspondent for the United States Project. Follow him on Twitter @CoreyHutchins and email him at CoreyHutchins [at] gmail [dot] com.


  1. Im Vernon, How Do You Do?! on said:

    I am for the measure to pass Colorado care. Every person in the state will have care without a single Bill to their name. Everyone! There will be no more ER visits unless there’s an actual emergency. Because everybody will be able to see a family doctor no matter what.

    I have read through this hole article. The top donors to pass this great volunteer groups. The top donors that oppose this bill are guess who the insurance companies. Why do you see that they do not want this to pass? Because they want to be rich. It’s all about the money.

    Reading about the amendment 69 will give every person in this state hope and every person in this state can see a specialist without any problems or consistencies. Any person who has an ailment that no insurance provider would able to help them with would now be able to get help no matter what. At no cost!.

    Vote Yes for this!!!

    Every adult every senior every child will be able to see a family doctor and any doctor you choose yourself because it’s covered. You’ll be able to see a specialist no matter what. Most insurance companies will prohibit that because their insurance does not cover that pacific Dr. And that doctor is who you are needing to see. It will also stop the billing of third-party doctors. Yes that happens. You go and get seen for Pacific problem and another doctor comes in to treat it you just got billed when you thought you were not going to get billed. It has happened! To many people!

    Vote Yes for Colorado care and be the first in our country to be humanitarians for all people here. Employees will only pay 3.3% more every month in their taxes. You are already paying 18 to 23% depending on your exempt status. Employers pay the 6.62%.

    This will end Medicaid Medicare and Insurance Groups to deal with. All that money will go to this and reduce so many costs.

    Read about the pros and cons in this article. About why those who oppose it and their cons why they oppose it are ridiculous.

    Read about it here-,_Amendment_69_(2016)

  2. C. Steeples on said:

    Amendment 69, if passed, becomes a permanent part of Colorado’s Constitution- almost impossible to tweak or fix if necessary. Look at the damage TABOR has caused, or the conflicting business/personal property tax amendments- there are other well-meaning amendments with damaging consequences. Colorado’s Constitution is a mess…

    Until the state Constitution is cleaned up, I refuse to support any more amendments- unless they are ones that eliminate problems. Well-meaning or not, Amendment 69 opens another can of worms-

  3. Anna Perry on said:

    I was at Stein’s Fort Collins campaign event. I heard Stein praise the efforts for Coloradocare, and the volunteers for the initiative, who also were at the event. While it was short of Menconi’s “full-throated endorsement”, her comments were not disparaging of Coloradocare by any means.

    Strangely, they do seem to have been edited out of the youtube videos of the event, however.

  4. Joy Beaver on said:

    Does anyone remember that when Obama was running for office the first time he wanted single payer health care? Then he flip flopped after he got elected, and we have the ACA, which is a miserable failure.

    Do you remember the Mad as Hell doctors who traveled the country supporting single payer health care? They’re still fighting for that.

    Do you remember Nancy Pelosi’s remark when Obamacare was being considered – We have to the pass the bill so you can see what’s in it?

    Jill Stein is for single payer health care. She has no ties to the insurance companies, who low-balled their rates to get your business and are now dropping out of the program like flies because they’re losing billions of dollars.

    I work in the health care field, and ACA is a disaster. You are paying astronomical rates for coverage with huge deductibles, and there are many doctors who will not accept the insurance. So you are paying for something that doesn’t serve you.

    Learn more about national single payer health care before you vote for Amendment 69.

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