Letter: ColoradoCare unfair to seniors
I would really, really like to vote for ColoradoCare. Because health care in mountain communities is ruinous; I know a (healthy) woman in her 50s whose 2017 “Affordable Care” medical insurance premium is more than her mortgage. And that’s before she ever walks into the door of any clinic and begins racking up copays, deductibles, etc.
But, if I understand what’s in my ballot, the taxation proposed by Amendment 69 is horribly regressive for seniors.
So much so, I can’t bring myself to vote for it — even though I think that Colorado really needs a single-zone medical care insurance district.
Under Amendment 69, Social Security income and IRA disbursements will be taxed as “additional income” at 10 percent for seniors. This taxation exempts the first $24,000 of Social Security for people older than 65. Here’s what that would mean for my 85-year-old mom whose entire income is about $35,000 in Social Security and required IRA disbursements. That means that she would be taxed 10 percent on $11,000 of Social Security/IRA income, roughly an additional $1,100 a year by ColoradoCare.
But that tax would be in addition to the Medicare A&B, and Medicare D she already pays for (about $300 a month.) So in addition to the $3,600 a year she pays for Medicare, mom is going to be taxed an $1,100 a year for ColoradoCare, for services she can’t use.
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I just can’t see burdening the elderly, many of them teetering at the edge of privation already, for ColoradoCare. Frankly, $24,000 a year (the exempted Social Security amount ) is not enough to cover the basics. My mom spends more of her “extra” $11,000 already for medical-related expenses that are not covered by Medicare, so the ColoradoCare tax is going to have to come out of her food budget or winter heating budget.
I would love to be wrong about this. But a 10 percent tax on a meager income from Social Security — in addition to current state and federal income taxes — seems like cruel and unusual punishment to me.
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