Colorado voters reject health care measure Colorado Care | AspenTimes.com
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Colorado voters reject health care measure Colorado Care

DENVER — Colorado voters have rejected a plan to create the nation's first government-run health care system that covers everyone.

Colorado Care aimed to abandon President Barack Obama's health care law and replace it with a universal coverage plan funded by a new payroll tax.

The $25 billion-a-year tax would have been taken out of paychecks, similar to how Medicare is funded.

That money would then go to an elected board of trustees that would act as an enormous insurance company and reimburse doctors.

Health insurers spent more than $3 million to fight the proposal.

The Colorado Care proposal had the backing of Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a state that tried and failed to set up a universal health care system.

— Associated Press

Colorado OKs medically assisted suicide for terminally ill people

DENVER — Colorado has approved a proposition to allow terminally ill people to end their own lives.

The law requires that a mentally competent patient have a six-month prognosis and get two doctors to approve requests for life-ending medication.

It requires doctors to discuss alternatives with the patient as well as safe storage, tracking and disposal of lethal drugs, recognizing that a patient can change his or her mind.

Colorado becomes the fifth state to allow medically assisted suicide, joining Oregon, Washington, Vermont and California.

Montana's state Supreme Court has ruled that doctors can use a patient's request for life-ending medication as a defense against any criminal charges linked to the death.

Opponents argued that the proposal would facilitate doctor-assisted suicide, especially after mistaken terminal diagnoses.

— Associated Press

Minimum wage hike wins approval

DENVER — Colorado has voted to hike the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2020.

The current minimum wage is $8.31 per hour. That's a 44 percent raise for more than 400,000 people who earn the minimum wage in Colorado.

Colorado last voted to hike the minimum wage in 2006, when it was indexed to inflation.

Ten years later, advocates for the working poor said the wage hasn't kept up with costs, especially escalating housing process across the state and especially in metro Denver.

Business opponents warned that the wage hike would cost jobs, especially in rural areas.

— Associated Press

'Raise the Bar' amendment passes

DENVER — With most votes counted, a proposed amendment that would make it more difficult to amend the Colorado constitution was strongly approved by voters Tuesday night.

Amendment 71, which supporters dubbed "Raise the Bar," will require more rigorous measures to land a citizen initiative on the ballot and then require more than a simple majority to pass it.

With 57 percent of the projected vote counted, the measure to impose more stringent requirements led with 1,002,486 votes, or 56.6 percent, to opponents' 766,347 votes, or 43.3 percent, prompting opponents to concede defeat.

— The Denver Post

Cigarette tax ballot issue rejected

DENVER — An amendment to the state constitution that would sharply raise the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products was rejected Tuesday night by Colorado voters opposed to the measure aimed at reducing youth smoking and channeling the revenue to a variety of health programs.

With 62 percent of the projected vote counted, opponents of the tax were leading with 1,019,777 votes, or 52.8 percent, to proponents' 908,065 votes, or 47.1 percent.

"We are pleased that voters examined this deeply-flawed constitutional amendment and decided that it should be defeated," said Michelle Balch Lyng, spokeswoman for the opponents of the measure.

— The Denver Post