Colorado Healthcare Choice, Initiative 63 (2010)

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Colorado Constitution
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Colorado Health Care, Amendment 63 appeared on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot in Colorado as an initiated constitutional amendment where it was defeated.[1][2]

According to reports, the proposed constitutional amendment would have stopped federal intervention on health care choices. The effort was sponsored by the Independence Institute.

According to the filed proposal the initiative stated, "all persons should have the right of health care choice." Additionally the proposal noted that choice would overrule any law, where it be state or federal, that required "individuals to buy insurance, join a health-care exchange or accept government-subsidized care."[3] The Amendment would also have preserved the right to make and receive direct payment for lawful health care services.

On July 30 Jon Caldara, of the Independence Institute, filed an estimated 130,500 signatures with the secretary of state's office. Caldara's initiative was known as Initiative 45. A minimum of 76,047 signatures were required to qualify for the 2010 ballot.[4][5] On August 26 the secretary of state's office certified the measure after 99,592 signatures were verified.[6]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
Amendment 63 (Health Care)
Defeatedd No905,94453.1%
Yes 800,155 46.9%

Source: Colorado Secretary of State - official 2010 general election results

Text of measure


The ballot title read as follows:[7]

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning the right of all persons to health care choice, and, in connection therewith, prohibiting the state independently or at the instance of the United States from adopting or enforcing any statute, regulation, resolution, or policy that requires a person to participate in a public or private health insurance or coverage plan or that denies, restricts, or penalizes the right or ability of a person to make or receive direct payments for lawful health care services; and exempting from the effects of the amendment emergency medical treatment required to be provided by hospitals, health facilities, and health care providers or health benefits provided under workers' compensation or similar insurance?

Constitutional changes

See also: Colorado Health Care Amendment (2010), constitutional text changes

If approved by voters, the proposed initiative would have amended Article II of the Colorado Constitution and added a new section - Section 32.[8] The changes can be read here.


Campaign logo of the Caldara initiative

Supporters of the Colorado Health Care Amendment included Jon Caldara, head of the Independence Institute. Caldara said of the initiative, "We want Colorado to be a sanctuary state for quality health care. This is not just to address the mandate in Obama-care, this is to make sure Colorado never becomes like Massachusetts where government puts a gun to your head and says you will buy a private product whether you want it or not."[9]. The official name of the lead supporting campaign committee is Health Care Choice for Colorado.


  • "Colorado has a right to decide how we choose to deal with health care. And it is my goal to make sure that Washington doesn't jam Obamacare down the throats of Coloradans," said Caldara.[10]
  • In response to arguments by the opposition that the proposed measure "[would] lead to higher health care costs for insured individuals and businesses as they are forced to absorb the costs of the uninsured," Brian Schwartz of, supported by the Independence Institute, said that mandatory insurance costs were greater than the proposed measure. Schwartz pointed to a 2007 Lewin Group study and a recent Kaiser Family Foundation report that revealed that the proposed cost shift would have been no more than $85 per year per insured citizen. "This amount is trivial compared to how much mandatory insurance increases premiums," said Schwartz.[11]


Health Care Choice for Colorado, the main supporting committee, was first formed on April 9, 2010[12]. Health Care Choice for Colorado filed for waiver requests from the Secretary of State to be exempt from major donor disclosure[12]


According to reports, a non-partisan coalition of physicians, hospitals, consumer advocates, and religious organizations opposed the proposed measure. Opponents argued that the proposed measure would have led to a "tangle of lawsuits" and would have "clutter[ed] up the Colorado constitution."[13] The main No on 63 campaign committee is "Colorado Deserves Better Committee."


  • In anticipation of the August 2 petition drive deadline a non-partisan coalition of physicians, hospitals, consumer advocates, and religious organizations spoke out against the proposed amendment. Edie Sonn of the Colorado Medical Society said, "In this economy, higher heath care prices mean trouble for Colorado. Caldara's amendment does exactly that: cost us money. With your support, we can defeat this ballot initiative and keep health care safe, available, and affordable. Once you cut through the complicated language, it becomes apparent that this amendment that will lead to higher health care costs for individuals and businesses, drawn out expensive lawsuits, and decreased quality of care. Colorado simply cannot afford this amendment."[14]


The Colorado Deserves Better Committee, the main opposition campaign, first formed as a committee on July 16, 2010[17]. The committee filed five waivers to be exempted from major donor disclosure. The committee had all their waiver requests granted by the Secretary of State[17].

Tactics and strategies

Commercials and videos

"Yes of 63" videos and commercials:

"No of 63" videos and commercials: none available

Media editorial positions

Main article: Endorsements of Colorado ballot measures, 2010


  • The Pueblo Chieftain supported Amendment 63. An editorial stated: "Perhaps the most onerous aspect is the requirement that all people have health insurance. This is a major stretch of the constitutional restraints on the power of the federal government. ... We ... believe the federal government has absolutely no power to require people to buy something."[19]
  • The Colorado Springs Gazette supported Amendment 63. An editorial stated: "This is not a country in which might makes right. It’s a country designed to protect minority interests against big government and mob sentiment. ... Amendment 63 would make Colorado an attractive haven for health care development, competition, and medical tourism, thus improving the health care options of Coloradans and boosting the economy. This country hasn’t prospered and flourished because of federal mandates. We have flourished because of freedom. Amendment 63 will be one giant step in protecting freedom for Coloradans.[20]


  •, a local blog, was opposed to Amendment 63. The blog stated, "This is a an interesting question that I think is worthy of being put before the voters - if it was an initiative. Locking this in to the constitution is worrisome because it not only restricts what the federal government can mandate, but what the state can legislate. Unless we are willing to let people without insurance die at the emergency room door, we will provide universal healthcare. Simple fairness then requires that the government at some level mandate coverage to match that delivered emergency care. Passing this amendment will lock in that free ride the uninsured get into the constitution."[21]
  • The Denver Post opposed Amendment 63. The editorial board said, "Amendment 63, pitched by Independence Institute frontman Jon Caldara, would limit the state's ability to implement health care reform and make it even more difficult to dial back health care cost-shifting. It has the potential to foist upon Coloradans consequences that, if not unforeseen, certainly may not be readily apparent. We urge a "no" vote."[22]
  • The Aurora Sentinel opposed Amendment 63. In an editorial, the board said, "With so much at stake, any change to the health-care system deserves close scrutiny and public deliberation. This is no place for one disgruntled group of zealots to enact political revenge and put the health and lives of all Coloradans at risk. Vote no on No. 63."[23]
  • opposed Amendment 63. In an editorial, the board said, "While it can do nothing to prevent the rollout of the federal health care plan, it would prohibit the state from taking part in the rollout. Unfortunately, the measure, if it were to pass, would result in costly litigation (which is already under way in other venues), and it would continue the notion that one person’s irresponsible behavior can be covered by everyone else in the form of higher health care costs. It preserves freedom to not buy insurance at the cost of everyone who buys a health insurance policy. Vote against."[24]
  • The Steamboat Today was opposed to all constitutional amendments on the Colorado 2010 ballot. "After careful consideration of the nine statewide ballot questions being put before voters this fall, we once again have reached the conclusion that proposed amendments to Colorado’s constitution too often are being used to effect changes in public policy that are better left to the legislative branch and the courts," said the editorial board.[25]
  • The Coloradoan was opposed to the proposed measure. "The Coloradoan earlier this year supported the health-care reform law passed by Congress and signed by the president. But even if you oppose the health-care bill, this amendment is the wrong approach. Lawsuits are challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate, which is the correct approach. We believe the Constitution's commerce clause provides a basis for Congress to enact the individual mandate, but that's an issue the Supreme Court ultimately will decide. Amendment 63 is unnecessary, and we recommend a 'no' vote," said the editorial board.[26]
  • The Durango Herald was opposed. "Amendment 63 is a spiteful attempt to rebuke President Obama by denying Colorado health-care reform. A bad idea that, were it worthwhile, would still not belong in the Constitution," said the editorial board.[27]


See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures
  • A October 19-21, 2010 poll by SurveyUSA for the Denver Post and 9-News revealed that 24% of polled voters supported Amendment 63, while 36% were opposed and 40% were undecided. According to reports, the poll had a margin of error of 4.2-4.3 percent. A total of 540 voters were polled.[28][29]

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
Oct. 19-21, 2010 SurveyUSA 24% 36% 40% 540


On June 21, 2010 the Colorado Supreme Court ruled 5-2 in favor of allowing the currently proposed amendment to circulate petitions. Specifically the decision concluded that the initiative met the state's single-subject rule and noted that the initiative's title "Right to health care choice" was not "misleading" or "an impermisible slogan."[30]

Path to the ballot

See also: Colorado signature requirements and 2010 ballot measure petition signature costs

In order to qualify the proposed measure for the 2010 ballot a minimum of 76,047 valid signatures were required. The signature filing deadline for the 2010 ballot in Colorado for initiated constitutional amendments was August 2, 2010.[31]

On Friday, July 30, about 130,000 petition signatures were filed with the Colorado Secretary of State's office.[9][32][33] On August 26 the secretary of state's office certified the measure after 99,592 signatures were verified.[34][35]

Signature validity count

According to the Colorado Secretary of State's office, below is the petition summary for Amendment 63:

  • Total qualified signatures submitted: 135,029
  • 5% random sample of qualified signatures: 6,752
  • Total entries accepted from random sample: 4,980
  • Total entries rejected from random sample: 1,772
  • Number of projected valid signatures from random sample: 99,592
  • Required signatures to qualify for ballot: 76,047
  • Projected percentage of required valid signatures: 130.96%

The official letter of certification and review of submitted signatures can be found here. The calculation of sufficient signatures using the random sample method is available here.

Similar measures in other states

Healthcare on the ballot in 2010
Nevada 2010 ballot measuresUtah 2010 ballot measuresColorado Fetal Personhood, Amendment 62 (2010)New Mexico 2010 ballot measuresArizona 2010 ballot measuresMontana 2010 ballot measuresCalifornia 2010 ballot measuresOregon 2010 ballot measuresWashington 2010 ballot measuresIdaho 2010 ballot measuresOklahoma 2010 ballot measuresKansas 2010 ballot measuresNebraska 2010 ballot measuresSouth Dakota 2010 ballot measuresNorth Dakota 2010 ballot measuresIowa 2010 ballot measuresMissouri 2010 ballot measuresArkansas 2010 ballot measuresLouisiana 2010 ballot measuresAlabama 2010 ballot measuresGeorgia 2010 ballot measuresFlorida 2010 ballot measuresSouth Carolina 2010 ballot measuresIllinois 2010 ballot measuresTennessee 2010 ballot measuresNorth Carolina 2010 ballot measuresIndiana 2010 ballot measuresOhio 2010 ballot measuresMaine 2010 ballot measuresVirginia 2010 ballot measuresMaryland 2010 ballot measuresMaryland 2010 ballot measuresRhode Island 2010 ballot measuresRhode Island 2010 ballot measuresMassachusetts 2010 ballot measuresMichigan 2010 ballot measuresMichigan 2010 ballot measuresAlaska Parental Notification Initiative, Ballot Measure 2 (2010)Hawaii 2010 ballot measuresCertified, health care, 2010 Map.png

Groups in Indiana, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wyoming considered a similar proposal. Two of the states (North Dakota and Wyoming) allowed ballot initiatives; in the other three states, the state legislature was required to vote the proposals onto the ballot using their state's procedure for constitutional amendments.[36]

Approveda Missouri Health Care Freedom, Proposition C (2010)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Indiana Health Care Freedom Act (2010)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Minnesota Health Care Freedom Act (2010)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot New Mexico Health Care Freedom Act (2010)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot North Dakota Health Care Freedom Act (2010)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Wyoming Health Care Freedom Act (2010)

A total of four related health care measures appeared on ballots in 2010, including Arizona, Oklahoma, Colorado and Missouri.

National lawsuit

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced on March 22, 2010 that he joined a national lawsuit to try to block federal health care legislation approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Sunday, March 21 and signed by President Barack Obama on March 23.[37] With United States President Barack Obama signing the newly passed federal health care bill into law, many states began preparing themselves to combat the health care mandates that are on the verge of taking place across the country. Some states have pending initiatives or legislative referrals for the statewide ballots, however, in other states attorney generals are joining in a national lawsuit.[38][39]

See also

Suggest a link


External links

Additional reading


  1. The Durango Herald,"Colo. voters reject ballot initiatives," November 4, 2010
  2. Time,"Mixed Results on the Health Reform Referendum," November 2, 2010
  3. The Wall Street Journal,"Another Health-Care Obstacle Awaits in States," January 20, 2010
  4. Colorado Independent,"Caldara submits signatures to land anti-‘Obamacare’ initiative on Nov. ballot," July 30, 2010
  5. Associated Press,"Petitions for health care ballot initiative turned in," July 30, 2010
  6. The Daily Sentinel,"Coloradans to vote on opting out of health law," August 27, 2010
  7. Colorado Secretary of State,"Amendment 63 ballot question," retrieved August 27, 2010
  8. Colorado Secretary of State,"Amendment 63 full text," retrieved August 27, 2010
  9. 9.0 9.1 9 News, "Amendment gives Colo. chance to vote on national health care reform", July 30, 2010
  10. The Denver Post,"Efforts already underway in Colorado to blunt federal health care reforms," December 30, 2009
  11. Opposition to Amendment 63 both flawed and deceptive
  12. 12.0 12.1 Colorado Secretary of State-TRACER "Committee Detail-Health Care Choice from Colorado"
  13. KJCT8,"Group Voices Opposition to Amendment 63," September 28, 2010
  14.,"Amendment gives Colo. chance to vote on national health care reform," August 1, 2010
  15. The Durango Herald,"Health board opposes measure," October 13, 2010
  16. San Juan Basin Health Department,"RESOLUTION: Statement Opposing Amendment 63," October 6, 2010
  17. 17.0 17.1 Colorado Secretary of State-TRACER "Committee Detail-Colorado Deserves Better"
  18. The Denver Daily News,"A healthy ballot measure?," October 22, 2010
  19. Pueblo Chieftain, "Amendment 63," October 4, 2010
  20. Colorado Springs Gazette, "Our View: Amendment 63 protects our freedom ," August 27, 2010
  21.,"63: Make Health Care Reform Optional," retrieved September 7, 2010
  22. The Denver Post,"No on 63: Amendment obstructs health reform," September 30, 2010
  23. The Aurora Sentinel,"EDITORIAL: No on 63 - send back this partisan slap," October 12, 2010
  24.,"Seven of nine ballot issues too costly for state," October 6, 2010
  25. Steamboat Today,"Our View: Vote 'no' on state amendments," October 20, 2010
  26. Coloradoan,"Voters, reject citizen-initiated amendments," October 27, 2010
  27. The Durango Herald,"Endorsements," October 24, 2010
  28. 9-News,"Poll: Colorado ballot issues continue uphill battles," October 25, 2010
  29. KUNC,"Many Colorado Voters Still Undecided About Amendment 63," October 25, 2010
  30. Law Week Colorado,"‘Health Care Choice’ Initiative Gets OK From Colo. Supreme Court," June 21, 2010
  31. Prior to the enactment of Colorado House Bill 1326 (2009), the signature deadline for initiated statutes and initiated amendments was the same--3 months before the election.
  32. Associated Press,"Petitions For Health Care Ballot Measure Turned In," July 30, 2010
  33. Face the State,"Obamacare at the polls," August 13, 2010
  34. The Denver Post,"Health care measure set for ballot," August 26, 2010
  35. The Denver Daily News,"Anti-‘ObamaCare’ on ballot," August 27, 2010
  36. Fox News, "State Lawmakers Considering Move to Opt Out of Federal Health Care", June 25, 2009
  37. Associated Press,"Colo. will join lawsuit to block health care bill," March 22, 2010
  38. Fox News, "Obama to Sign Landmark Health Reform Bill", March 23, 2010
  39. CNN, "Obama signs health care reform bill, aims to promote it on the road", March 23, 2010