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Colorado is a state where people think outside the traditional left/right political paradigm and focus on solutions even when our legislature is too gridlocked to take action.

When voters were faced with the facts of the damage caused by the failed War on Drugs, they chose to circumvent the legislature and make history by legalizing marijuana through the ballot initiative process. This same solution-based, independent thinking gave our Republican neighbors the foresight to boldly reject Donald Trump and our Democratic neighbors the progressive mentality to embrace Bernie Sanders in the primaries.

By passing Amendment 69, Coloradans have the opportunity to continue making history by removing the private health insurance middleman scam that is costing us $30 billion annually, along with the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors.

Right now, this state sits idle as 870,000 of its residents are underinsured, 350,000 residents have no access to health care, and over 550 people die each year from not having that access.

Private insurance rates are set to increase as much as 45% for some Coloradans next year and the average Aetna customer will see an increase of 20%. These rate increases will leave even more of us without coverage. ColoradoCare costs $5 billion less than what we’re paying now to cover every single resident and even cover things that are not currently covered by private insurance, such as mental-health or substance-abuse treatment.

The LGBTQ community has an especially vested interest in passing Amendment 69 as the community is impacted by the shortcomings of private insurance more than most any other community.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, while being 4% more likely to be uninsured, members of the LGBTQ community are also 15% more likely to drink in excess; 10% more likely to smoke cigarettes; and 6% more likely to have a mental-health crisis than their straight counterparts.

A vote for ColoradoCare is a vote for equality, regardless of your gender, orientation, or socioeconomic status. Health care is a human right, and can be recognized for all of Colorado’s citizens.

By passing Amendment 69, we will vote to elect a 21-person board to act as the co-op to handle the bulk purchasing of the health care plans. No more monthly payments and no more co-pays; you just go to the doctor and get the health care you need, and the state will handle the rest. This program does not alter your health care; it merely removes the middleman who is making a financial killing off your poor health.

I firmly believe our legislature will not fix this problem because a great number of them receive campaign donations from opposing corporate groups like COPIC and the Chamber of Commerce who stand to lose out on millions of dollars in giant CEO salaries and bonuses.

The only way we can overthrow this system that profits from the suffering of our neighbors is to pass Amendment 69.