Health Care for All Colorado gives info on Initiative 12

By Christy Steadman
Canon City (Colo.) Daily Record, Oct. 3, 2013

Community members gathered Wednesday to hear information on Colorado's ballot Initiative 12, "Right to Health Care," at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church for a free public forum sponsored by Health Care for All Colorado.

"It's important to me to have the community I live in be healthy. That makes my chances of being healthy better," said Anne C. Courtright, M.D., of the Southeast (Pueblo) Chapter of HCAC.

Speaking at the event was Donna Smith, executive director of HCAC, and Dr. Louis Balizet, Pueblo oncologist and member of HCAC and Physicians for a National Health Plan.

"We feel that health care is a human right and that every American should have some way to access health care regardless of financial status," Balizet said.

According to the HCAC website, Initiative 12 "will give Coloradans an opportunity to vote in November 2014 to establish health care as a human right and public good in the Colorado constitution."

It will "amend the Colorado constitution to provide one public health insurance program," which "must allow all Colorado residents access to a single standard of health care" to cover "medical, mental health, dental and long-term care services," stated the website.

According to the website, "the department of revenue (would) collect a premium not to exceed nine percent of an individual's income to fund the plan" and would "prohibit the control or administration of premiums by a for-profit, nonpublic entity or corporation."

A hand-out written by the HCAC says "the individual and employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) are expanded to require all Colorado residents to have health insurance."

"Health insurance is not health care. Health insurance is a financial product," Smith said. "But somehow they've worked it to make it sound like it's something more — and it's not."

Smith said states are allowed to innovate their own plan by 2017 if they can prove that it can "cover as many people, and do so as well" as Obamacare.

"I am quite committed that the Affordable Care Act of Obamacare is not the answer to universal access to health care," said Balizet. "Even at a most optimistic projection."

The HCAC is in the process of gathering the 86,105 signatures needed for Initiative 12 by their Oct. 25 deadline.

"If we haven't accomplished anything else in the course of trying to collect our necessary number of signatures," Courtright said. "We have at least increased the number of people that know there is a problem and that there is a solution."

According to the HCAC website, the HCAC is a "nonprofit social welfare organization, which began in 2001 in response to the increasing numbers of Coloradans who are not able to secure basic health care in our current health care system." They advocate "the adoption of a single-payer system, which ensures that all Coloradans have access to affordable and comprehensive health care services."

For more information, visit or call Courtright at (719) 543-5148.