Guest Commentary: Will Obamacare Take Down Amendment 66?

October 31, 2013
FIELDS:  When failures like the meltdown of the Obamacare website occur, people are reminded that the private sector does things (including healthcare) more efficiently than government

FIELDS: When failures like the meltdown of the Obamacare website occur, people are reminded that the private sector does things more efficiently than government

It should have, but it didn’t dawn on me that Obamacare might drag down Amendment 66 until I saw an article highlighting this possibility on the New York Times blog. Despite a $10 million spending advantage, approval for the $1 billion tax increase is still very much in question.

Back in the summer of 2009, I was a staffer for the Republicans on the U.S. Senate HELP Committee. My job was to help the communications director craft press releases during the markup of Obamacare. With only 39 members at the time, Republicans in the Senate (and the House) had no way of stopping – or even altering – the bill.

Throughout the process, we pointed out that the costs for insurance and treatment would go up, while the quality of care would go down. We also refuted the Administration’s claim that “if you liked what you had, you could keep it.” It was obvious that with the new regulations, a large amount people would inevitably lose their coverage and lose their doctors. Some employers would dump their existing coverage, and some individuals would choose to pay the fine because it would be cheaper. Besides, individuals could then add coverage if and when they became sick. Despite all this, we did assume that the Administration would be competent enough to get the initial website up and working. We assumed too much.

So what is it about Obamacare that could impact an education proposal in Colorado?

The surface level connection is that both Obamacare and the education proposal have websites that serve as gateways to the larger reforms. In an effort to make education spending more transparent in Colorado, SB-213 creates a website where people can see exactly how funds are being allocated. Voters are concerned that if the federal government can spend $400 million on a website that doesn’t work, what are the chances that Colorado’s new transparency website will work as promised?

The bigger connection, however, is that voters are becoming more worried about the inefficiencies in government. History shows us that most big programs get more popular as time goes on. This has not been the case with healthcare reform. Polling last month, before the failed rollout, showed that the approval rating for Obamacare in Colorado was 19 points underwater.

When failures like the meltdown of the Obamacare website occur, people are reminded that the private sector does things (including healthcare) more efficiently than government. If, for example, the government was tasked with creating a computer company, a social networking website, and a coffee shop – what are the chances that it would come up with companies on par with Apple, Facebook, and Starbucks? The beauty of the private sector is competition.

So how is this principle tied to reforming our public education system? By definition, public education is government-run. One of the best ways to create greater efficiency in the system is through choice in education. Choice creates varying options and greater competition. By increasing the number of charter schools, and by supporting targeted tax credits, parents would not be forced to send their children to failing schools. In order for positive reforms to happen, it will take standing up to the entrenched interests. Amendment 66 and SB-213 do not do this. There is a good reason that voters seem reluctant to pour more money into a system that is admittedly already in desperate need of reform. This reform should come before any talk of increased revenue.

Despite the barrage of TV and radio ads, voters might be seeing that the Amendment 66 tax hike (like Obamacare) simply won’t deliver as promised.

Michael Fields is a 6th grade teacher at a charter school in Aurora, and a Republican candidate for Colorado House District 37

Comments made by visitors are not representative of The Colorado Observer staff.

5 Responses to Guest Commentary: Will Obamacare Take Down Amendment 66?

  1. Brian McFarlane
    October 31, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    If they can create a website to make spending transparent to all of us, than that is what should have been proposed first, by itself. Show us that the money CAN be spent properly/efficiently FIRST, than come to us and ask for a billion a year with an increase in the income tax. I probably still wouldn’t vote for a billion. There are cheaper and smaller things that can be done that cost virtually nothing, some that are within this proposed bill.

  2. Peter1951
    October 31, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    The opposition party was there clamoring and pleading to anyone who would listen about the lies concerning ObamaCare. Udall needs to wear his vote like a scarlet letter. Because of his vote, the entire nation is beginning its downward spiral. We will all pay for his sins but he should pay first with his job. Good luck Mark trying to work in the real world. No worries, I am sure some lefty group will enlist you to continue your regressive efforts for services rendered.

  3. play nice
    October 31, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    “…, parents would not be forced to send their children to failing schools…”

    the schools fail because the parents fail, the teachers fail and the students fail

    moving them around will only make “successful” schools fail

    but good luck with that

  4. jason1975
    October 31, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Interesting how every problem is looked at through monetary lenses.

    The reason people are not insured, for the most part, is not that the health care system is broken. It is because people fail to live life responsibly. The government not only condones but encourages this behavior. The more people are dependent on government the more votes those who love to dole out other people’s money will get. If you look at it from that perspective the government is no better than drug pushers.

    As far as for prop 66. Everyone wants their children to have a good education. But look at the waste. I read a story last night that part of the money will be authorized to the school pension fund. Is that in any way, shape or form better educating students?

    All of this, whether we talk federal or state is about government control. The ability to take our money and spend it as they see fit. In the process they are telling us that they know what is best for us.

    I bust my tail at my job because I work for a company that provides insurance. I read to my little boy every night because I am the best educator he will ever have.

    America and Colorado need to wake up to the realities of the 21st century. If we do not change the systematic failures in our government, then we are going down a road we do not want to travel. It isn’t about republicans or democrats. It is the administrative state that unconstitutionally has seized power.

  5. Bob Easton
    November 4, 2013 at 7:41 am

    It seems that all legislation is aimed toward bigger government. That is the main cause, throughout history, of the collapse of empires. Here, in the USA; it is leading us to another revolution. That could be much bloodier than any that have ever happened in the past. The level of freedom guaranteed by our Constitution has created a people that will not accept the level of control sought by those who believe they know best. Many have already armed themselves and organized. We must use our votes and opinions to quell the rising tide.


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