Colorado Health Institute 2016

ColoradoCare: An Independent Analysis

By: Colorado Health Institute
Authors: Amy Downs (Project Leader), Emily Johnson (Lead Analyst), Joe Hanel (Lead Writer), et al
Published: April-October 2016
Financed by: The Health Institute is funded by The Colorado Health Foundation, The Colorado Trust, Caring for Colorado Foundation, and Rose Community Foundation
Legislation analyzed: Amendment 69 (ColoradoCare), 2017 ballot question


Download the Report: from the Colorado Health Institute, or download the overview, finances report, and governance reports below.


Summary of Finances

Our study found that:

  • ColoradoCare would nearly break even in its first year while extending coverage to all Coloradans, but it would slide into ever-increasing deficits in future years unless taxes were increased.
  • On the plus side for ColoradoCare, it would be able to reach its goal of saving money in the health care system by cutting billions of dollars in administrative costs and insurance company profits. That funding could be reallocated to provide coverage to the 6.7 percent of Coloradans who remain uninsured, achieving universal coverage.
  • However, the revenues designated for ColoradoCare to pay for the new universal coverage wouldn’t be able to keep up with increasing health care costs, resulting in red ink each year of its first decade.

CHI’s analysis finds that ColoradoCare would struggle with the same financial dilemma as the current health care system — the inability to tame rising health care costs. That would create a structural problem for ColoradoCare.

Although its savings on administrative costs would grow over time, those savings would be overwhelmed by the rising cost of health care, which is projected to grow faster than tax revenue. This is crucial because taxes would account for roughly two-thirds of ColoradoCare’s projected funding.