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Colorado single-payer ballot measure trails in polls

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Polls show Democrats may be on the verge of voting against Amendment 69, a ballot measure that could set up a universal, government-run health coverage system in Colorado.

If Democrats in the state join Republicans in opposing Amendment 69, that could weaken efforts by Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vermont, and his supporters to move the national party further to the left on health finance issues and other issues.

Related: Big money pours millions into ballot initiative battles 

Colorado Mesa University and the Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College have reported, based on a survey of 540 Colorado registered voters conducted in mid-September, that 44 percent of likely Colorado voters intend to vote for Hillary Clinton for president. Only 30 percent said they strongly or somewhat favor Amendment 69.

About 70 percent of the poll participants said they strongly or somewhat favor another state ballot measure, Proposition 106. The measure would let physicians help terminally ill people who want to control when their lives end.

Louisville, Colorado-based Magellan Strategies reported in September, based on a survey conducted in late August, that, at that time, only 27 percent of the 500 likely general election voters surveyed said they approved of Amendment 69.

Amendment 69 had the support of just 7 percent of the Republicans who participated, and only 41 percent of the Democrats. Another 14 percent of the Democrats who participated said they were undecided.

The list of Democrats in Colorado who oppose the measure includes Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sen. Michael Bennet.

Sanders is the best-known supporter of the ballot measure. 

He traveled to Boulder, Colo., to speak for the measure Oct. 17., the Denver-based group behind the initative, wants to create an independent, nonprofit, trustee-run organization that would collect premiums from state residents and use the revenue to cover all health care, including primary care, specialty care, urgent care, rehabilitative and habilitative services, wellness services, laboratory services, end-of-life care and the medical portion of the state workers’ compensation program.

There would be no deductibles, and no co-payments for preventive services care or some other primary care services, organizers say.

The program would serve as a Medicare supplement insurance plan, and it would apply to become a Medicare Advantage plan.

Supporters say administrative simplification would save so much the program would end up costing much less than what Colorado residents now spend on health care.

Opponents say the proposed health coverage program would be too expensive, wouldn’t work as supporters expect, and could push employers out of the state.

Related: Colorado single-payer plan would quickly implode

Supporters argue that opposition to the ballot measure is as strong as it is mainly because insurers and other interest groups have spent heavily on efforts to defeat the measure.


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