With taxpayers nationwide already $61 million in the hole for Colorado’s healthcare exchange start-up costs as part of Obamacare, the board established to oversee the exchange is set to submit a $125 million grant request to cover additional start-up and advertising costs.
Health Policy Solutions, run out of the University of Colorado, reported that exchange board member Mike Fallon is on record as being against this additional money grab:
“What I’m a little bit aghast at is that we are now an entity closing in on $200 million to sell insurance. “I don’t think we need $125 million. We are supposed to be a market savvy business operation, not a government entity. Just because other people are doing it (asking for additional federal dollars) doesn’t mean we should.”
The same article quoted State Senator Ellen Roberts as being “stunned, shocked, and horrified” by the cost, while State Senator Kevin Lundberg said that he was “disgusted” by it.
The rocky start-up of this project is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to budget over-runs for exchange and the various other mandates under the comically-named Affordable Care Act.
Connect For Health Colorado, the entity that will run the exchange, and cost taxpayers more than $180 million to set up, is slated to start with 39 full time employees collecting an average salary of $85,505. This does not even count the consultants who are lining up to collect more than $11 million (as budgeted now) during the development phase of the exchange. One can only wonder what the furniture will cost.
Marketing seems to be a high priority for the exchange, with five “Outreach, Marketing, and Communication Support” personnel working under a person pulling down $95,000 to oversee outreach efforts to “stakeholders.” Perhaps they will be looking for success similar to what Obama enjoyed during his ad campaign to nearly double the food stamp rolls.