A push for government provided healthcare that extends beyond President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is in the works in Colorado. The Colorado Foundation for Universal Healthcare (CFUHC) was formed in December of 2011 and has since engaged with the few legislators in Denver who would listen. This year, CFUHC helped draft Senate Concurrent Resolution 2 (SCR-002), which would have created a Colorado constitutional amendment to establish a state run healthcare board which would in turn provide universal, government coverage.
The Resolution was initially received by two lone Democrats, Senator Irene Aguilar (D-Denver) and Representative Joann Ginal (D-Fort Collins). Aguilar introduced and sponsored SCR-002 in the Senate with the organizational backing of CFUHC, but soon after had to spike the legislation after the universal coverage plan received nearly universal opposition by both the legislature and outside advocacy groups.
CFUHC and Senator Aguilar have held close ties since the Foundation’s inception. Ivan J. Miller, the President of CFUHC, financially supported Aguilar and her political campaign for Senate when she was first elected in 2011. Miller has also given to a dozen other issue campaigns and candidates in Colorado since 2009 – all of them Democrats.
Vice President William Semple personally donated to Aguilar twice last election cycle. Lyn Gullette, CFUHC’s Secretary, also gave twice. All but two of the Foundation’s Board of Directors contributed to Senator Aguilar’s election efforts and the two members who did not donate had no recorded history of political giving.
CFUHC is set up in Colorado as a registered trademark name of the larger Patient Advocacy Coalition that was established in the state in 1996. Miller, the current President of CFUHC, is also listed as the registered agent of the Patient Advocacy Coalition. The Coalition became delinquent with the Secretary of State’s office in 2007 and 2009, when Miller failed to file the required annual reports.
In addition to his efforts to enact government run healthcare at a state level with both the Coalition and the Foundation, Miller also serves as the volunteer Health Care Policy Advisor for Senator Aguilar.
CFUHC’s work to enact a form of state controlled healthcare in Colorado has been shown to come with serious financial ramifications. Miller and Senator Aguilar’s SCR-002, for example, was estimated to cost Colorado taxpayers a whopping $16.2 billion in increased payroll and state income taxes every year by 2017, according to the Resolution’s fiscal note finings by the General Assembly. On top of the increased tax burden, the cost to the state of Colorado would be approximately $25 million in the next four years.
In order to continue to defend its position and combat the unbiased fiscal notes, CFUHC had to hire and economist from Massachusetts to publish a statement saying that state run healthcare would save Coloradans money in the long run. Gerald Friedman, the University of Massachusetts professor who agreed to work with CFUHC, also has a history with unions and has written extensively supporting big labor in the United States.
This story was originally featured at Media Trackers Colorado.