DENVER – In a huge blow to the campaign that seeks to turn Colorado’s health care system into a government-run socialized-medicine albatross, liberal advocacy group Progress Now has announced that it will oppose the ballot measure this fall.

The news came as a surprise to many, including proponents of Amendment 69. State Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver, who was decidedly taken aback by the announcement, per her reaction on liberal blog ColoradoPols:

“Wow! As a progressive legislator who is one of the major spokespersons for Amendment 69, I am appalled that I learned about this via ColoradoPols. I asked to speak with the board of Progress Now about ColoradoCare, and they didn’t give me the courtesy of a reply. I guess Brandenberry McKenna has more influence than I do.” 

Other liberal legislators will undoubtedly be equally upset with the announcement, including state Senate candidate Dan Kagan, D-Cherry Hills Village. Earlier this month, the staunch leftist donated money to bring socialized medicine to Colorado. Ironically, Kagan then feigned as if he was pulling back from the proposal in the Colorado Independent. However, he has been one of the most vocal proponents of socialized medicine in the Colorado legislature, going so far as to compare Colorado’s lack of socialized medicine to slavery. 

Rep. Kagan did not attend the press conference, his absence was notable, as was not available for comment regarding the measure.

The timing of the announcement is curious, as Amendment 69 qualified for the ballot in November 2015 to great fanfare among Colorado progressives. Now, less than three months before Election Day, ProgressNow has come out against the initiative. Executive director Ian Silverii did his best to argue to 9News that the decision was policy-oriented rather than a politically-calculated reaction to atrocious internal polling:

The third detail that troubles Progress Now about ColoradoCare’s proposal is its plan to create a board by electing 21 people from around the state.

“These people don’t have to have any kind of expertise in health care or risk assessment or actuarial,”Silverii said. “And they can make decisions about the care plan that every Coloradan uses.”

Progress Now’s opposition to the measure on those grounds is notable, given the organization’s full-throated support of other such arrangements, including the fiscally reckless and mostly expert-free PERA Board of Directors.

Kelly Maher, Executive Director of Compass Colorado, was delighted to see the progressive organization abandon ship on one of its most prized political goals:

“The major takeaway from this announcement is that this socialized medicine scheme must be getting annihilated in progressives’ internal polling, and is anchor around the necks of liberal politicians like Rep. Kagan struggling to keep their jobs in this anti-incumbent environment. ProgressNow would be on the front lines of the battle if the measure stood any chance of passing, not least because both organizations are funded in significant part by the same donors.”