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SLV Health Formally Opposes Amendment 69

SLV Health Board Chair Karla Hardesty signs the official resolution to oppose Amendment 69.The leadership at San Luis Valley Health took a formal position in opposition on Ballot Amendment 69, “ColoradoCare” at the August board of directors meeting. “After careful review of the impacts of Amendment 69, we do not support this ballot measure. While our system is complex and certainly imperfect, this change would only make the situation worse. Considering this measure would increase our taxes to the highest rate in the country, many businesses and individuals may become overwhelmingly burdened,” comments CEO, Konnie Martin. “The impact on all of our industries will be significant and it’s important for voters to research this proposal, do the math, and educate themselves. Please read the independent analysis by the non-partisan Colorado Health Institute. Their research clearly shows the downfalls associated with 69.” Martin further added, “We have had providers who have responded to our recruiting efforts who said they will wait to decide on their decision to move to Colorado until after the election due to this Amendment, as it is quite unknown how the pay structure for providers will be determined.”

From the resolution, some of the items listed by the board are: (1) ColoradoCare is too risky as it is unproven and would unravel the progress that Colorado has made in reforming the health care system for Colorado patients; (2) the cost of ColoradoCare will more than double the size of the state budget with no guarantee of providing adequate funding, (3) benefits are not guaranteed and we do not know how this will impact hospitals and providers – especially those serving rural Colorado. Providing additional comments was Board President, Karla Hardesty, “If this would pass, they could start collecting taxes immediately for 18-24 months while medical coverage is still being purchased, causing double the costs for individuals and businesses. To oversimplify health care reimbursement is dangerous. Someone would still need to administratively oversee benefits, appeals, compliance, customer service, as well as out of state, Medicare and Veteran coverages. I’m also concerned about the board. They would have a lot of power and not a lot of accountability. Board positions are not required to have healthcare experience and are not subject to campaign finance rules.”

“There are so many unknowns such as what will the actual covered benefits look like,” commented Martin. “From everything I’ve seen, the projected financial shortfall would occur within four years if not sooner. This amendment does not address the cost of health care but would create market uncertainty and reverse all of the reforms that Colorado has done to address the health care system.”

The president of the Colorado Hospital Association, Steven Summer, recently addressed the directors at an SLV Health meeting. He stated, “If the proposed taxes are not enough to cover the costs, three scenarios could play out. Either benefits/coverage gets cut, providers get reimbursed less, or your taxes go up. There very well could be all three of these outcomes, especially since they wouldn’t have to go back to voters to increase taxes. If the proposed taxes include higher wage earners, and this demographic of workers leaves the state, they will indeed suffer a shortfall.”