A brief note on the defeat of ColoradoCare

2016 U.S. election results

By Associated Press
Updated Nov. 10, 2016

Amendment 69: ColoradoCare

100% reporting

Yes: 509,629 (20.6%)

No: 1,964,755 (79.4%)



By Don McCanne, M.D.

Amendment 69 - ColoradoCare - is a Colorado ballot measure for comprehensive health care financing reform. It was defeated by a vote of 4 to 1. It joins California’s Prop 186 which was defeated 3 to 1 and Oregon’s Measure 23, also losing 4 to 1.

Although many surveys have shown that public support for a single payer national health program is about 60 percent, these state ballot measures failed miserably.

The nation is heavily polarized politically so you might expect that only half of the voters would approve such ballot measures, but these efforts were unable to gain even a majority within their own faction much less the support of the opposing faction.

The lesson is that, to be successful, a comprehensive state health reform ballot measure requires a massive education effort over a period of years if you expect to gain support of a sufficient portion of the electorate, and that has never been accomplished. People not only have to understand it, they have to want it. If you find that you have to keep explaining what your proposal is, you haven’t done enough, and your opponents can and will destroy your efforts with a few soundbites.

Bernie Sanders demonstrated that a concerted effort can bring single payer back into the national dialogue, but his efforts to support ColoradoCare fell on deaf ears. He even had to trade single payer for a public option to gain Hillary Clinton’s support, and where did that go? His efforts were phenomenal, but he can't do it alone.

Education, coalitions, grassroots efforts are all essential, but without education, it is all for naught. Get to work.