Critics are using the 20th anniversary of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights to bash the voter-approved constitutional amendment as something devastating to our state. They talk as if government budgets and the economy are one in the same. Fund governments more, and we're good to go. Fund them less, and it somehow amounts to an economic crisis.
More than one Colorado political expert has said that the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights has had more effect on state government than any other ballot measure in the state's history.
TABOR, as the 20-year-old voter-approved measure is known, has been felt across the state during two recessions. It's best known for restricting Colorado governments – from the state down to school districts - from increasing taxes without a vote of the people. The measure was added to the state Constitution on Election Day in 1992.
The closest real-world example to the Affordable Care Act is the health reform plan implemented in Massachusetts in 2006. Even though the ACA has a 50-state focus, the plans are very much alike. To get an idea of how the ACA might work, it's useful to look at the Massachusetts experiment.
In Wednesday's presidential debate, both candidates mentioned $716 billion in "cuts" to the federal Medicare program. The figure was a topic of debate even before the presidential debate, and in August we sent out an email explaining how one man's cut is another man's cost savings.
Explaining the $716 billion is somewhat complicated – probably more than can be expected in two minutes of a debate – but we feel it is important to understand the origin of the number, so we are reprinting our earlier email:
In last night's presidential debate, both candidates traded arguments about an advisory group called the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which will be created to make recommendations about reducing the growth of Medicare spending.
The board, which would be seated in 2013, is one of a number of provisions in the Affordable Care Act designed to extend the solvency of Medicare from 2016 to 2024.
The second part of Bob Semro's interview on the Affordable Care Act and Medicare aired on KGNU Radio yesterday morning. You can stream or download the interview here. Bob's interview begins at 10:16, and runs for approximately seven minutes.
Bob Semro, our healthcare policy analyst, was interviewed on KGNU Radio about the debate regarding the Affordable Care and and Medicare. If you missed Bob's on-air appearance, you can stream or download the segment here. Bob's interview begins at approximately 21:18, and lasts for about seven minutes.
The latest debate over the Affordable Care Act is whether the new law cuts Medicare funding by more than $700 billion and then uses the money from those cuts to cover the cost of reforms that have nothing to do with American seniors. The implication is that the ACA will hurt Medicare without offering anything in return. The debate has received a great deal of attention because Medicare is a very popular program, not just with seniors but with most Americans.