There are two important statewide ballot measures that CFA Foundation has summarized for your convenience: Proposition 106 and Amendment 69. See below for more information.
Proposition 106 is a citizen initiative on your ballot that seeks to change Colorado law in order to allow an individual to request and self-administer medication to voluntarily end his or her life. Proponents, who brought forth the proposition, have named it the “Colorado End-of-Life Options Act.” Opponents refer to it as “physician-assisted suicide.” A “yes” vote supports the proposal whereas a “no” vote opposes the proposal and would leave current Colorado law unchanged.
Current Colorado law prohibits assisting a person in committing a suicide. Proposition 106 proposes to make physicians’ assistance in committing a suicide lawful in Colorado. Specifically, it would allow Colorado residents to request a prescription for lethal drugs to end their lives under certain circumstances. The proposition requires that a person’s attending physician diagnose the person with a “terminal illness with a prognosis of six months or less,” determine the person has “mental capacity” and that the person has voluntarily expressed the wish to receive the prescription for lethal medication. This must also be confirmed by a “consulting” doctor. There are no requirements that either the attending or consulting doctors have a preexisting relationship with the person requesting the lethal medication.
The proposition requires that there be two witnesses to the written request. One witness cannot be related to the person making the request, nor be legally interested in that person’s estate; the other witness can be. The medication is supposed to be self-administered and there does not have to be a doctor or any other person present to witness the administration of the medication.
The proposition requires that the cause of death on the death certificate be listed as the underlying illness rather than a suicide caused by the administration of a lethal drug, and such death does not constitute grounds for a coroner’s post-mortem inquiry. The proposition also establishes immunity for those who act in good faith pursuant to the provisions of the proposition or who are present when the drugs are administered. There is an instruction to return any unused drugs to the doctor or to a federally approved medication take-back program, however, there is no enforcement mechanism to ensure that unused drugs are returned. There is no requirement that next-of-kin or family members be notified of the request and receipt of the drugs, so they may not know to locate and return any unused drugs.
Further information on Proposition 106 may be found at CFA Foundation’s website http://coloradofamilyaction.org.
Amendment 69 is a citizen initiative that will be on your ballot which seeks to amend the Colorado Constitution in order to create a single-payer, government run healthcare system known as “ColoradoCare.” A “yes” vote supports the proposal to amend the constitution and create this new system, whereas a “no” vote opposes the proposal and would leave our current healthcare system in place.
ColoradoCare, according to the terms of the proposed amendment, will be funded by taxes. There is a 6.67% tax on the total payroll of all employers and a 3.33% payroll tax on all employees. All “non-payroll income” will be taxed at 10%. “Non-payroll income” includes, among other income, interest, dividends, capital gains, rental income, farming income, and certain types of retirement income such as the federal taxable amount of IRA distributions and Social Security benefits. The new taxes are in addition to the state’s current 4.63% income tax, and their amounts may be increased in the future.
ColoradoCare aims to be far reaching. A “beneficiary” is an “individual whose primary residence is in Colorado.” There is no definition of “residence” nor is there any minimum time requirement established in order to become a resident. “Members,” who vote on tax increases and the board of trustees, are defined as “a beneficiary who is at least eighteen years of age and whose residence must have been in Colorado for one continuous year.”
ColoradoCare will be run by a board of trustees. Initially, an interim board of 15 trustees will be appointed. Within three years, an election for trustees must be held. The 21 member board of trustees will be elected by the “members” from each of seven districts created by the interim board. The elections shall be non-partisan. Trustees may be removed “for cause” by a majority vote of other trustees, but they are not subject to recall elections. All decisions relating to coverage, negotiation of prices and reimbursement rates are made by this board.
ColoradoCare will be a “political subdivision” of the state. It is not subject to administrative direction or control by any state executive, department, commission, board, bureau or agency.
Further information on Amendment 69 may be found at CFA Foundation’s website http://coloradofamilyaction.org.