The 2008 Colorado Ballot

56: Require Health Insurance Coverage

This initiative has been withdrawn

The unions have withdrawn initiatives 53, 55, 56, & 57. They will still appear on the ballot but will not be counted. The anti-union initiatives 47, 49, & 54 remain on the ballot - please vote no on them.


The measure would require every employer that employs twenty or more employees in the state of Colorado to provide major medical health care coverage for its employees (paying 80% of the cost) and their dependents (paying 70% of the costs).

This initiative is part of the union's response that will destroy the Labor Peace Act of 1943.

Vote NO! Devastating Impact Vote No

This initiative is not just a job killer, it will decimate entire sectors of the economy here in Colorado. Most companies that offer poor or no health insurance don't choose to do so. Rather it's because what they offer (if anything) is all they can afford. This does not magically produce health insurance at no cost, rather it will force out of business those industries that can not offer this level of insurance and still make a profit.

This proposal is anti-worker as it will reduce the number of jobs in Colorado. And with the massive unemployment from this initiative, those lucky enough to have a job will have a difficult time getting a raise.

In addition, to continue with the incredibly successful Colorado Labor Peace Act of 1943, this (and the other 6 peace act violators) must be defeated.

Arguments Against

First you have companies that do provide health insurance, but not at the mandated 80%/70% amounts. So let's take a real example of a company that pays 100% of the individual and 0% of the family part. And it is set up this way based on employee feedback because many employees are single and many others have a spouse's plan covering the spouse & kids. This change can be made at no cost to the company, but the employees will be worse off.

Lets take a second real example where a company provides health insurance at a bit below these percentages. But it's a really good plan, covering most everything, and is through Aetna so that claims are paid with a minimum of hassle. Again, at no additional cost to the company they can get a plan that covers less through a carrier that is a PITA to deal with, but meets the percentages. Again, the workers are less happy.

Now the above examples are the best case scenarios. The workers are a bit worse off, the business is a bit worse off, but no jobs were lost. Lets get in to the bad cases.

Next we have the case of a company that provides no health insurance or what they provide is so much less than this, that in either case they are looking at a much larger expense. What's key here is that this expense is per employee. Not per dollar paid to employees. Not per dollar of income received. It's a flat fee per employee.

So what this company must do is layoff every employee it can, while getting the remaining ones to work as long and as hard as possible. Better to layoff 1 person and pay 2 others for 20 hours/week of overtime each.

This measure will reduce jobs substantially in those industries that provide little or no health insurance. And those jobs are overwhelmingly lower paying jobs - this really hurts the blue collar worker.

But that's not the worst case. Lets now look at the companies that require lots of unskilled or semi-skilled labor, have a very low profit margin, and can be located anywhere. Those companies are gone. You can't bring in an added expense like this and still compete against companies that don't have this additional overhead.

Granted, these are jobs that suck. They don't pay well. Those workers having no health insurance is a national shame. But eliminating the job is not the answer because the job, lousy as it is, beats no job.

The Health Insurance Initiative will be devastating for the workers at the lower end of the economic scale in this state. And for most of them it doesn't mean they will get health insurance, it means they will go from a job with little or no health insurance ... to no job at all.

Arguments For

Amendment 56 increases access to affordable health insurance for working people and their families. When individuals and families have health insurance, they are better protected from the financial burden of catastrophic medical events. By establishing cost-sharing requirements between employers and employees, the measure provides more workers with a viable option to obtain health insurance.

Employers in the state share in the responsibility for solving the problem of access to health care. While a majority of Colorado employers offer health insurance to employees, employers that do not provide this benefit have an unfair competitive advantage and create a financial burden on those that do. The costs of treating people with little or no health insurance are passed on in the form of increased charges for health care services and increased insurance premiums, which in turn raise the cost of health care for everyone.



Legislative Council

Secretary of State



Come join the discussion on this initiative at any of the following blogs:

Liberal & Loving It

Colorado Pols




Coloradans for Responsible Reform

The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce



The Colorado Economic Leadership Coalition


Protect Colorado's Future