ColoradoCare trounced; Baumgardner re-elected
Colorado voters rejected an ambitious plan to institute a universal health-care plan in the state but approved allowing physicians to prescribe drugs that would enable a terminally ill person to end his or her life.
In other decisions, Coloradans re-elected U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet to a second six-year term over Republican Darryl Glenn, an El Paso County commissioner.
Closer to home:
• State Sen. Randy Baumgardner defeated Breckenridge Democrat Emily Tracy for a second time.
In 2012, Baumgardner defeated Tracy with 51.1 percent of the vote to Tracy’s 44.3 percent of the vote and Libertarian candidate Sacha Weis’ 4.6 percent.
This year there wasn’t a third candidate in the race for the eight counties — Moffat, Routt, Jackson, Rio Blanco, Garfield, Eagle, Grand and Summit — that encompass District 8. Tracy won in Routt and Summit Counties and lost all other counties to Baumgardner.
• Joyce Rankin of Carbondale won election to a full term on the State Board of Education, carrying more than 60 percent of the vote through mid-evening to defeat Christine Pacheco-Koveleski, a Pueblo Democrat. Rankin was appointed last year to fill a vacancy on the board. Her husband, Bob, was unopposed for re-election to his Colorado House seat.
Colorado became the fifth state to allow medically aided death for people who are terminally ill. Proposition 106 was modeled after Oregon’s medically assisted suicide bill, which was passed in 1997.
It requires that a mentally competent patient have a six-month prognosis and get two doctors to sign off on three requests for life-ending medication. Doctors must discuss alternatives with the patient. It also calls for tracking and mandatory disposal of lethal drugs if a patient changes his or her mind.
In Oregon, an estimated one-third of patients who requested life-ending drugs after that state’s law went into effect in 1997 never used them, according to Compassion and Choices, which lobbied for the measure.
A terminally ill patient in Colorado must be able to administer the drugs on their own, and doctors must report annually to the state about each case in which life-ending drugs are prescribed.
Voters approved the measure after the Legislature rejected similar attempts in the past two years.
RAISE THE BAR
Coloradans voted to make it harder to amend their constitution. Amendment 71 requires petition signatures from each of the state’s 35 Senate districts equal to at least 2 percent of the registered voters in each district to place a proposed amendment on the ballot. Once there, 55 percent voter approval will be needed to pass an amendment.
The proposal’s primary backer was oil and gas companies.
• Voters approved a constitutional amendment to raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020.
• Colorado beat back an attempt to raise the cigarette tax by $1.75 per pack. Opposition, financed almost entirely by Altria Group, the parent of tobacco giant Phillip Morris, has $17 million to fight the proposal.
• Voters mandated that the political parties hold winner-take-all presidential primary elections. They also approved, though by a narrower margin, open primary elections. That will allow unaffiliated voters to cast ballots in primary elections or for people registered with one party to cross over and vote in the other party’s primary.
ColoradoCare, the universal health plan, would have created the nation’s first government-run health-care system that covers everyone. More than three-quarters of votes counted by 9:30 p.m. were against the plan.
Amendment 69 aimed to abandon President Barack Obama’s health-care law and replace it with a universal coverage plan funded by a new payroll tax. The $25 billion-a-year tax would have been taken out of paychecks, similar to how Medicare is funded. That money would then go to an elected board of trustees that would act as an enormous insurance company and reimburse doctors.
Health insurers spent more than $3 million to fight the proposal.
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The 27th Street Underpass Bridge project design has reached 30% completion, with a final design expected to be completed by August.