Healthcare for All
I strongly support a expanding the Colorado State Medicaid program to allow everyone to buy in - especially the self-employed.
The State Treasurer does not have a direct effect on healthcare policy in Colorado. This is left to the Governor and State Legislature. Nevertheless, the Treasurer is the State's Chief Financial Officer and does have a seat on the State Medicaid Board thus I think this is an issue worth mentioning here.
At present and being self employed, I have gone without health insurance for long periods of time. As a Single Dad, it just got to be too expensive when my premium doubled and my deductible tripled to $6,500 in just 3 years.
- Healthcare spending is a budget busting item both for families and at the State level. In the U.S. we spend nearly $10,000 per person per year on healthcare or roughly $4,000 more per person than any other modern industrialized country, but our outcomes are not any better.
- If we are to have real competition in a private market we must insist on much greater price transparency and an end to the employer tax credit so that people can shop for health insurance like they do car insurance or homeowner's insurance.
- I believe we need to join the rest of the industrialized world and provide healthcare to everyone - and we need to do it soon. How we do it is a complex question as this industry represents nearly 18% of our total economy. One thing is clear however, the status quo just won't do.
I hope that a solution can be found at the Federal level to our current crisis, but I don't trust Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump to fix our broken healthcare system. I have much more faith in the people and leaders here in Colorado to fix this problem.
Public Banking - A $100 million idea
I had never heard of a Public Bank until about 3 months ago and the idea may be new to many of you. As it turns out a Public Bank isn't a new idea at all. North Dakota has had one for more than 95 years, and Benjamin Franklin was instrumental in starting one in Pennsylvania in 1729.
At the State and local level throughout Colorado, our Treasurers typically deposit our tax and fee revenue in accounts with large multinational banks. These large banks pay us a small rate of return - at the State level it is less than 1% - and then loan our money out to people outside of Colorado and outside of the U.S. If we're lucky, these big banks aren't investing our money in derivatives, but there's not a lot to stop them. We have billions of dollars with these banks, and I think it is safer here in Colorado than with Wall Street.
Why not bring our money home and put it to work for us?
A Public Bank would not compete with local community banks. Instead it would work much like a State Central Bank partnering with local banks to make loans more affordable for small businesses and students. In addition, it would be a mechanism to fund infrastructure investments at lower rates than we currently do. Moreover, it would allow our marijuana industry a place to bank since they cannot bank with federally insured banks.
The State Legislature and Governor would approve a Public Bank, but it would be managed by the Treasurer and I think it is long overdue. Most importantly, we would save millions on financing costs and also could see a Public Bank bring at least $100 million per year to the State Treasury - money that could be used to better fund schools, roads or could be reinvested.