Colorado Fair Share Healthcare Initiative (2008)

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The Fair Share Health Care initiative proposed a new constitutional amendment to the Colorado Constitution, requiring companies that employ 20 or more to offer health insurance coverage to employees and their dependents.

The measure would have required the state to establish an insurance authority. Employers who don’t insure their employees would have had to pay premiums to this authority. The authority, in turn, would provide major medical health care coverage to those companies’ employees.


A Colorado Springs postal worker, Chuck Bader, initially wrote the initiative as a result of receiving great health care while in the Marines and the U.S. Postal Service, but little coverage as a private sector employee.

Bader blames large corporations for people not receiving health care coverage. "We’re making their profits for them," he said. "If they hire employees and they don’t offer them health care, we as taxpayers pick up the bill."[1]


Ralph Pollock, chair of the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry's HealthCare Council, believed that the initiative would face huge obstacles in court.[2]

The employer mandate has negative consequences, as summarized in Healthy Competition, by Michael Cannon and Michael Tanner:

"The drawbacks of employer mandates outweigh any benefits. The amount of compensation each worker receives is a function of her productivity. Mandating an increase in a worker’s compensation (through the provision of health insurance) increases the employer’s operating costs, but does nothing to increase the worker’s productivity. Employers therefore must find ways to offset the added costs imposed by the mandate. Their options include raising prices (which is unlikely in a competitive market), lowering wages, reducing wage increases, reducing health benefits (e.g., drug coverage, retiree health benefits) reducing other benefits (e.g., pensions), instituting layoff, initiating automation, reducing hiring, hiring ineligible workers, out-sourcing, and refusing to comply with the law. Noncompliance with Hawaii’s mandate has been significant."

Brian T. Schwartz of the Independence Institute has criticized the bill for further entrenching employer-sponsored insurance, which is responsible for many problems of health care in the United States.


The proponents had to collect 76,000 valid signatures by April 10th to qualify for the November ballot. It did not make the ballot.

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