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Why We Oppose Amendment 69

October 1, 2016
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Ballots have already been sent out, and Coloradans will find one of the thickest election envelopes in years. There are a lot of issues to learn about, including Amendment 69, the single-payer health care proposal dubbed ColoradoCare.

Pinnacol strongly opposes Amendment 69. There are several reasons why, and we’ve shared many of them with you over the past few months. Colorado’s workers’ compensation system is one of the best in the nation because of the way it effectively balances reasonable premiums for employers and fair benefits for injured workers. But ColoradoCare would flip the system on its head. We want to remind you of the reasons Pinnacol is concerned about the proposal:

It would increase costs
Amendment 69’s backers say that integrating workers’ comp into ColoradoCare would save Colorado businesses money by decreasing workers’ comp premiums. But those costs won’t go away — they’ll just shift to the state. In fact, costs would likely rise without all the things a carrier like Pinnacol does: work with employers to keep workers safe and minimize the potential for injury, and work with providers to help injured workers get back to work in a timely and safe way. So we expect that time off from work would increase, productivity would decrease and wage replacement costs would rise.

It won’t help injured workers
Currently, every injured worker receives treatment from a medical provider who is trained and certified to practice occupational medicine. These providers ensure injured workers get timely, expert care to get them well and back on the job. But ColoradoCare would allow injured workers to get care from any provider, not necessarily a trained occupational medicine practitioner. And it’s not clear that ColoradoCare would cover transportation to get injured workers to appointments and translators when necessary, services Pinnacol pays for now.

It would destabilize the workers’ comp system
As you all know, workers’ comp is the “exclusive remedy” when someone is hurt on the job. What happens to that when the system is broken in two? Will we see more employers choosing not to carry workers’ comp coverage at all? More injured workers seeing a need to sue? This kind of uncertainty will jeopardize a system that successfully balances the needs of Colorado’s injured workers and their employers.

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