ColoradoCare, the November ballot measure that seeks to set up a single-payer health care system in Colorado, recently got a thumbs-down from Gov. John Hickenlooper. His comments indicate the $25 billion proposal is causing an inter-party squabble with fellow Democrats who back the measure.
Hickenlooper talked about ColoradoCare at a Jan. 6 meeting hosted by the Colorado Forum. But his remarks came to light only this week, because reporters who attempted to cover the Governor’s speech were kicked out of the meeting.
Complete Colorado, a conservative online news organization, filed an open records request to get the Governor’s comments, and released them yesterday, along with the complete audio recording.
“I can’t imagine there’s any chance that [ColoradoCare] will pass,” Hickenlooper told the audience. “But I can tell you there are a couple [of] large health care related companies that are looking at moving their headquarters here, and they saw that, that that’s going to be on the ballot, and, and they paused.”
Hickenlooper’s remarks came as a surprise to Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver, the “force behind the creation of ColoradoCare,” according to the measure’s website. She told The Colorado Independent today that her understanding was that the Governor would stay neutral on the issue.
Aguilar added that she plans to speak to the Governor’s staff about his comments.
Hickenlooper’s remarks were cheered by Tony Gagliardi, who heads the Colorado chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business. “We’re pleased to see the governor come out publicly against this,” he told The Independent. The cost, estimated at $25 billion, is more than the size of the entire state government, Gagliardi noted.
“We congratulate the Governor for standing up and saying ‘No, this isn’t in the best interests of Coloradans’,” Gagliardi said.
This afternoon, Hickenlooper issued a statement through a spokesperson that said the state had made great strides in expanding access to affordable, quality health care. Reforms are “just beginning to bear fruit, and it would be premature to dramatically remake our health care system at this time.”
“While we do not support this proposal, we respect the motives of those behind it,” Hickenlooper said.
Photo credit: takomabibelot, Creative Commons, Flickr.