By Peter Marcus, DENVER DAILY NEWS
An estimated 493,900 Coloradans in 2014 will be eligible for government-issued health care tax credits to offset a portion of their health insurance premiums, according to a report released yesterday by a national health reform advocacy group.
The Washington, D.C.-based Families USA report states that the tax credits will result in $1.8 billion worth of tax reductions for Coloradans in 2014, when the majority of federal health reform legislation signed into law this year takes full effect.
The report comes as Coloradans prepare to vote on a ballot initiative that would opt the state out of health reform “mandates” that require small businesses and individuals to carry health insurance or pay a penalty. Proponents of the ballot initiative say Coloradans should have an opportunity to vote on the federal requirements.
A Survey USA poll released yesterday states that the majority of Coloradans are undecided on Amendment 63. The poll states that 10 percent of people surveyed supported the initiative, while 19 percent opposed it. A whopping 71 percent of Coloradans remain undecided, according to the survey.
The Families USA report states that 96 percent of Coloradans eligible for the health care tax credits will be in working families.
The report states:
• Approximately 429,300 people will be in families with a worker who is employed full-time;
• Another 43,400 people will be in families with a worker who is employed part-time;
• Tax credits will target middle-income families;
• People with annual incomes at or above 200 percent of the federal poverty level will constitute more than two-thirds of Coloradans eligible for a credit; and
• More than half the dollars from the tax cut will be targeted to families with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty level.
“This is the largest middle-income tax cut in history, and it will enable many hard-working Coloradans to afford health insurance premiums that have stretched family budgets,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. “The tax cut will not only put significant extra cash in Coloradans’ pocketbooks, but it will also ease the burden of families’ growing health care costs.”
Jon Caldara, president of the libertarian Independence Institute and lead proponent of the anti-health reform ballot initiative in Colorado, said he is not worried that the poll released yesterday states that so many Coloradans are undecided on his ballot initiative. Caldara called the poll “laughable,” arguing that such surveys are not accurate.
“One poorly written poll is not a big issue,” he said. “I still feel that this is the issue of the year and people, when they get in the voting booth, understand it just fine.”