I've attended several recent industry conferences here inColorado. As you might expect if you've followed the news, onetopic has dominated the conversation: universal health care.

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The November ballot in the Centennial state will include aninitiated constitutional amendment known as Amendment 69, which, ifpassed, will create a payment system that would finance health carefor Colorado residents partly through a $25 billion increase instate taxes.

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According to the ColoradoCare website, the program would “coverall residents and cost less than the current system.” The sitefeatures a quote from Bernie Sanders, stating thatColorado “could lead the nation in moving toward a system to ensurebetter health care for more people at less cost.”

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Or course, not everyone views the amendment so positively.

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At the Colorado State Association of Health Underwriters inDenver, Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton said the goal isto make Colorado the “test tube for single-payer health across theUnited States,” adding that the only requirement to qualify forhealth care would be a driver's license. “Imagine the number ofpeople with chronic conditions who will be moving to Colorado as aresult of this initiative.”

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He cited an estimated cost of $25 billion in year one alone,which “would effectively double Colorado's budget.” Business groupskeep telling him, “There's no way this will pass.” His response?“Never underestimate the power of what people perceive to be freeon the ballot.”

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Surveys indicate opponents have reason to worry. Polling ofColorado voters shows strong support for the Amendment, and arecent report from the Denver Business Journal noted that even whenpollsters were presented with the opponents' point of view,“approval still remained at 51 percent, as opposed to 43 percentdisapproval.”

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At the CIAB Leadership Forum in Colorado Springs, retiredneurosurgeon and former 2016 Republican presidential candidate BenCarson offered another criticism.

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“Single payer would be awful,” he said, because it would “removethe element of competition. It would remove the excellence.” If theU.S. moved to such a system, he said, the forces that helped createcenters of excellence like Johns Hopkins and Mass General woulddisappear. More importantly, he said, “it's not the Americanway.”

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Come November, we'll see if Coloradans agree, via another stapleof the American way: the polling booth. In the long run, theirdecision could have far-reaching implications. It's going to getvery interesting.

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Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson is the editor-in-chief of BenefitsPRO Magazine and BenefitsPRO.com. He has covered the insurance industry for more than a decade, including stints at Retirement Advisor Magazine and ProducersWeb.