Colorado considers replacing ObamaCare with state single-payer plan

Colorado could become the first state in the union to offer its citizens universal, single-payer health care if voters approve an amendment on November's ballot.

Supporters hope that if Amendment 69, known as ColoradoCare, passes, other states will follow.

"The way to get here is state by state," according to T.R. Reid, spokesman for ColoradoCare and author of "The Healing of America."

"That's how we got female suffrage, child labor laws, interracial marriage, marijuana. One state does it and the other states see that it works and it spreads."

Proponents believe Colorado is the perfect testing ground for this issue because its constitution is far easier to amend than most other states. They cite the passage in 2012 of an amendment legalizing recreational marijuana despite the opposition of nearly every elected official in the state.

"People trust us to take ideas and make them work," Reid said, "and we can make this work and then the whole country will finally provide health care for everybody."

The proposal would double the state's $25 billion budget, prompting opponents like former Democratic Governor Bill Ritter and Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton to charge that free health care for all will not really be free at all.

"This proposal would bankrupt the state of Colorado in short order," Stapleton said, adding that the 10 percent payroll tax that would be required to fund ColoradoCare would crush the state's healthy economy.

"It would quickly make Colorado the highest taxed state from an income tax standpoint in the entire country. Businesses would flee in droves," he added.

The treasurer also predicted ColoradoCare would chase away the best doctors while bringing in a flood of new people, adding, "if you think legalized weed brought a lot of people to Colorado, you should try out free health care."

Small business owner Nathan Wilkes disagreed. His family knows firsthand the shortcomings of the current health care system.

"We have the Affordable Care Act, which gave us some protection, but it really doesn't address the under-insured that remain," he said.

Wilkes’ son Thomas, 12, was born with hemophilia, a disorder in which blood lacks the element that helps it clot after an injury. The medication needed to keep Thomas alive is astronomically expensive.

"Just this year alone...our claims are over $2 million so far,”Wilkes said. “And over the last 12 years, 10 different insurance plans across four carriers, and every single one of them tries to get rid of us and tries to deny claims."

He said universal health care is not about politics. "This is not a partisan issue. It's health care. Everybody can agree that it's good to have access to it when you need it and that's what we're trying to get."

Although opponents decline to address specific cases like that of the Wilkes family, they maintain that Amendment 69 is not the answer.

In a statement to Fox News, the Colorado Hospital Association said it  "...acknowledges that there may be problems and challenges with the current system." But the statement also said, "This proposal would threaten the sustainability of the state's health care system and potentially impede access to care."

States around the country will be watching closely to see whether Colorado voters once again decide to buck the establishment this November.