KJCT falsely reported fifth Blue Ribbon health plan "would require that the state income tax be nearly tripled"

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

In a September 12 report, KJCT News 8 anchor Jason Radcliffe incorrectly stated that a "fifth health care reform plan ... could make Colorado look a little like Massachusetts" and that it "would require that the state income tax be nearly tripled." In fact, one of the four original proposals that Colorado's Blue Ribbon Commission for Healthcare Reform is evaluating, not the fifth, would require nearly tripling the income tax, because it would "provide health insurance to everyone in the state."

Anchor Jason Radcliffe reported on the September 12 broadcast of Grand Junction ABC affiliate KJCT's News 8 This Morning that "[a] fifth health care reform plan in development could make Colorado look a little like Massachusetts" and added that the plan "would require that the state income tax be nearly tripled from the current 4.6 percent." In fact, as the Associated Press (AP) reported on September 11, one of the original four proposals being considered by Colorado's Blue Ribbon Commission for Healthcare Reform -- not the latest, fifth proposal, as Radcliffe stated -- would "provide health insurance to everyone in the state in a single-payer plan" and "would also require that the state income tax be nearly tripled from the current 4.6%."

From the September 12 broadcast of KJCT's News 8 This Morning:

RADCLIFFE: A fifth health care reform plan in development could make Colorado look a little like Massachusetts. Governor Bill Ritter assembled a blue-ribbon panel to come up with several health care reform plans. Four other plans proposed include a $26 billion-a-year plan to provide health insurance to everyone in the state. This new plan, modeled after one in Massachusetts, would require that the state income tax be nearly tripled from the current 4.6 percent. It would be administered like a public utility, with premiums charged through income taxes and payroll deductions.

Similar to the News 8 report, the AP noted that "[a] fifth health care reform plan -- being developed by a panel that Governor (Bill) Ritter appointed -- resembles one that Massachusetts instituted last year." However, unlike News 8, the AP reported that only the proposed single-payer plan would require that the state income tax be "nearly tripled":

Four other plans proposed by the Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform include a $26-billion a year plan to provide health insurance to everyone in the state in a single-payer plan.

That plan would be administered like a public utility, with premiums charged through income taxes and payroll deductions.

It would also require that the state income tax be nearly tripled from the current 4.6%.

Moreover, a September 13 article in The Gazette of Colorado Springs reported that "[t]he commission is evaluating four plans to reform state health care that were selected from a group of 31 proposals, and it is crafting a fifth proposal that blends elements from all of the ideas." According to the Gazette, the fifth proposal would "require residents to purchase insurance but also expand Medicaid and offer subsidies for people between 200 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level." The Gazette further noted that the fifth plan would "create an optional state-sponsored continuouscoverage [sic] plan that people use when they change jobs and would make it easier to enroll in public health plans and stay in them for one year after finding employment." Listing the five plans "At A Glance," the Gazette further noted that the "[t]otal program cost" and the "[n]ew revenues needed" for the "fifth proposal" are as yet "[u]nknown."

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