Guest opinion: Making health care a public resource | PostIndependent.com

Guest opinion: Making health care a public resource

Jeanne Nicholson

Jeanne Nicholson

Opponents of ColoradoCare, Amendment 69, like to point out "Colorado's proposed universal health care would be bigger than McDonald's."

That is like comparing apples and oranges. McDonald's is a for-profit fast food business owned by stockholders to make money. ColoradoCare will be a nonprofit health care financing cooperative owned by the residents of Colorado.

It matters what you compare something else to, correct? It should be an apples-to-apples comparison. How about comparing ColoradoCare at $25 billion to what you and I pay now for premiums, deductibles, and copays — that is a whopping $30 billion.

Yep. Coloradans will be spending less than we do now, getting more benefits, and experiencing fewer hassles.

Free enterprise is great for restaurants and hotels, but doesn't work well at all for financing health care.

Health care should be a public resource like public libraries, public roads and public education. Health care should be a basic service everyone pays into and everyone benefits from regardless of their financial status — you know, like public libraries, public roads and public education.

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Opponents also say ColoradoCare will be a future Fortune 500 company like it was a for-profit corporation, but it won't be because it will be a nonprofit cooperative that belongs to the people of Colorado, like our libraries, schools and public roads.

We don't compare the cost of our public libraries to corporations. Libraries, schools and roads are a different kind of entity and so should health care financing be a pubic resource, not a commodity.

Let's be clear: The health care providers are the good guys and we must compensate them well for the care they provide, but do we need to finance the CEO of United Health's compensation package to the tune of $66 million?

ColoradoCare would transform the way we pay for health care, making it more affordable with better benefits than what we have now.

Does that sound too good to be true? I suggest our current health care financing system is too bad to be true.

Twenty-one percent of Coloradans cannot afford health care. The rest of us are being hoodwinked into paying too much for too little. When Amendment 69 passes this November, all Colorado residents will have better benefits and the vast majority of us will pay less.

Beyond the money, some of us believe it is a moral imperative that no one is denied health care when they need it.

Colorado could lead the way for universal health care in the U.S. In the West, we often challenge tradition and have often been the leaders for change, such as winning women's right to vote.

Check out the ColoradoCare website, ColoradoCare.org, and make your own decision about what will be best for you and all Coloradans. I think you will be surprised when you learn we can have a much better health care payment system if we have the courage to change.

Former State Sen. Jeanne Nicholson, D-Georgetown, is spokeswoman for Colorado Cares Yes. She's a registered nurse.