INFLUENTIAL DEMOCRATIC CONSULTANTS, some of whom work for the Super PACs backing Hillary Clinton, have signed up to fight a bold initiative to create a state-based single-payer system in Colorado, according to a state filing posted Monday.
Coloradans for Coloradans, an ad-hoc group opposing single payer in Colorado, revealed that it raised $1 million over the first five months of this year. The group was formed to defeat Amendment 69, the ballot measure before voters this year that would change the Colorado constitution and permit a system that would automatically cover every state resident’s health care.
The anti-single-payer effort is funded almost entirely by health care industry interests, including $500,000 from Anthem Inc., the state’s largest health insurance provider; $40,000 from Cigna, another large health insurer that is current in talks to merge with Anthem; $75,000 from Davita, the dialysis company; $25,000 from Delta Dental, the largest dental insurer in the state; and $100,000 from SCL Health, the faith-based hospital chain.
Under the new system, there would be no health insurance premiums or deductibles, and all health and dental care would be paid for by the state through a new system called ColoradoCare. The plan calls for raising $25 billion through a mix of payroll taxes, along with bringing down costs through negotiations with providers.
The filing reveals that the anti-single-payer group has retained the services of Global Strategy Group, a Democratic consulting firm that has served a variety of congressional candidates and is currently advising Priorities USA Action, one of the Super PACs backing Clinton’s bid for the presidency.
Last month, Global Strategies Group circulated a polling memo that contends that the single-payer ballot measure can be defeated because voters “overwhelmingly reject” the idea.
But, the memo warned, the measure “has some traction with key groups,” including Democrats and millennials, and that the 2016 election year has proven difficult to predict. “[A] sustained campaign pointing out the many flaws in Amendment 69 is essential, especially in such an unpredictable environment,” the memo concluded.
After the memo appeared online last month, I called Andrew Baumann, the vice president of research at Global Strategy Group, to ask him about it, but said he could not reveal who had paid for it or why his firm was researching vulnerabilities with the single-payer initiative.
The filing shows that the firm was paid $58,000 by Coloradans for Coloradans for “consultant and professional services.”
A number of other Democratic firms have signed up to help defeat single payer, too. Hilltop Public Solutions, a firm managed by former campaign staffers to Barack Obama, was paid $45,000 by the group. Hilltop has also provided consulting services to Ready PAC, another Clinton-supporting Super PAC that eventually folded into the Clinton campaign.
The Trimpa Group, a consulting company run by Democratic strategist Ted Trimpa, also received a payment from Coloradans for Coloradans.
The Democratic consultants are listed alongside several Republican firms, including Brandeberry-McKenna Public Affairs, a GOP company that also lobbies for the drug industry.
As we previously reported, healthcare interests have mobilized to defeat Amendment 69, with the health insurance industry leading the way.
Countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom have been largely successful in providing universal healthcare at far lower costs than the U.S. using a single-payer system. Private health interests have lobbied for decades to defeat cost-saving healthcare reforms, starting with President Harry Truman’s effort to create single payer.