Initiative launched against health overhaul

DENVER — The head of a free-market think tank wants Colorado to opt out of whatever health care measure Congress ends up approving.

Jon Caldara, president of the Golden-based Independence Institute, filed language Friday for a proposed ballot question this fall that would give Coloradans the right not to purchase health insurance.

Using the slogan, “Obama Care. Hell No, Colorado Won’t Go,” Caldara hopes to get a new amendment tacked onto the Colorado Constitution that he’s calling the “right to health care choice.”

He said mandating all Americans to have health care insurance is a violation of states’ rights.

“The citizens can decide to speak up and say no to Obama care,” Caldara said. “Colorado is defending itself from an unfunded mandate from Washington, D.C.”

Michael Huttner, executive director of the Democratic-leaning advocacy group Progress Now, said Caldara’s measure will go nowhere.

“This is nothing more than the right wing and their corporate interests trying to take shots at the Obama administration,” Huttner said. “It’s a sham. The people of Colorado are smarter than this. When they learn who’s behind it … they will learn that this is a complete farce.”

Huttner said the ballot question was drafted by the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute, a sister think tank to the Golden group, and is being pushed in at least 10 states. Arizona already placed the idea on its 2010 ballot.

Caldara’s proposal first will have to be reviewed by nonpartisan staff in the Colorado Legislature and then by the Secretary of State’s Office to see if it meets the minimum legal requirements to qualify for the ballot “and the inevitable legal challenges,” Caldara said. That process could take months.


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