DOUBLE TROUBLE: CO Health Exchange Runs into Billing Snafu; Fontneau Directly Sells Health Plans

A recently-published article in Health News Colorado exposed a billing snafu at the Colorado Healthcare Exchange.  Apparently, somehow some Coloradans signed up for both public and private health insurance.  We still can’t figure out how this could happen given the process that the exchange claims to have in place.  Essentially, everyone who goes to the exchange signs up for Medicaid.  Those who do not qualify for Medicaid are then kicked to private health insurance plans.  So, how some sign up for both is a total mystery to us.  The only attempt at an explanation is here:

“The problem with double-enrollment comes later. Medicaid managers can reevaluate if people qualify. If they do, the Medicaid eligibility then goes back to the date on which the person first applied. Under federal rules, Reece said if a person has coverage under both public and private plans, private plans would have to pick up the tab for the first month. After that, it’s unclear who will have to pay any claims.”

So, after people are denied from Medicaid, its managers can go back and approve them?  If that’s the case, is there a problem with the initial process denying qualifying people from Medicaid?  Naturally, the exchange folks are saying the equivalent of “move on, nothing to see here”, except that this is a big freaking problem, according to some (including an exchange board member). From the article:

But Steve ErkenBrack, president of Rocky Mountain Health Plans and an exchange board member, said this is a “major, major issue.”

“One person could be a million-dollar claim,” ErkenBrack said. “This has required everyone to reach out of their comfort zones. How do we make sure members aren’t going to get caught in limbo and that their coverage will be there?”

Marc Reece, associate director of the Colorado Association of Health Plans, the group that represents insurance companies throughout the state, echoed ErkenBrack’s concerns both during the exchange meeting and in an interview afterwards.

While this is all a big deal, the article did offer some humor in one of the pictures it featured.  Apparently, we were wrong when we suggested that health exchange head Patty Fontneau was overpaid.  We knew she was the CEO, but we didn’t know she also moonlighted as an insurance salesman at the 16th Street Mall location.  See the photo to the right. Either she’s playing Undercover Boss or this is a really lame attempt at a photo-op.

Our take? Fontneau’s time would be better spent unraveling this billing mess than selling insurance on the 16th Street Mall.  Is it time for an audit yet?

 

CRASS: Dem Rep. Crisanta Duran Caught Chanting “Death to CO GOP”

“That be so funny if we killed all Republicans, guys! JK, JK, JK. OMG, guys, you know I’m not serious, because then I’d be, like, psycho”

First, Howard Dean wanted to ship all Republicans to the Ukraine or Russia.  Now, unions and at least one elected official are calling for the GOP’s death.  As The Colorado Statesman reports, state Rep. Crisanta Duran marched with a Latino group and the Service Employees International Union as they chanted “Death to the Colorado GOP.”

At a rally on Tuesday in downtown Denver led by the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, Latino leaders and community groups held a mock funeral procession in which they declared, “Death to the Colorado GOP for killing immigration reform.”

Joining the demonstration was state Rep. Crisanta Duran, D-Denver.

“It is very frustrating that they have not been part of the solution to see comprehensive immigration reform, to actually get it done,” said Duran. [the Peak’s emphasis]

Imagine that, Republicans not wanting to work with a group that is chanting for their death.  Call us crazy, but that seems like a very natural response.  The fact that it doesn’t even register with Duran at all doesn’t surprise us.  PeakNation™, you may remember Duran as the exceedingly divisive chair of the normally, quite civil, Joint Budget Committee.  Even more bizarre, chanting “death to the GOP” above isn’t even the first time Duran has hinted at violence against political opponents.

 

No wonder she couldn’t get a single House Republican vote for the budget (outside the ceremonial JBC solidarity one by Rep. Cheri Gerou) she guided this year, even though that very same budget got wide, bipartisan support over in the state Senate.  Good thing someone so tactless, tone deaf, and partisan isn’t the chair of two of the most powerful committees in the Colorado legislature…  Yikes Democrats, this is really one of the best people you can find to lead you?  All we have to say in response is:

“Maybe we should buy a gun to defend ourselves from Democrats. (Joke) [adding the parenthetical clause makes everything all right, right?]”

“Death to the Colorado Democrats.”

Yep, feels just as crass and humorless going from this side to that side, as it is going from that side to this side.  Good thing the entire Colorado political community will stand up together to such non-sense, and keep putting our genial way of legislating first… [Cue crickets chirping]

 

Peak Feed: Cory Gardner Offers Glimpse at Family History…and Future

Polling has shown that Colorado voters are just learning about U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, who is running against the most liberal vulnerable Senator up for re-election, Sen. Mark Udall, for a seat in the Senate. This new ad from his campaign team gives Coloradans additional, much-needed background on Gardner.

Just watch:

From the ad:

Cory: My dad and granddad had big shoes to fill. So did I.

All of us in Colorado walk in footsteps of pioneers.

Cory: Now, the footsteps that guide us belong to the next generation.

Cory: Washington burdens them with debt. Mortgages their future.

We need to shake up the United States Senate. Put in a New Generation – one that’s accountable…to the Next Generation.

I’m Cory Gardner. I approved this message.

 

LOCAL CONTROL GONE WILD: Boulder Attempts to Seize Utility Property

You see a lovely vista, Boulder sees property it hasn’t condemned yet.

While we joke around here about Boulder being a socialist outpost, we never thought the city would actually start seizing property. But, Boulder, perhaps emboldened by its moratorium ban on fracking is throwing property rights by the wayside in its attempt to seize part of Xcel Energy’s distribution system.  This is all a part of Boulder’s grand plan to establish a city power utility.

Boldly, the city defended it’s action like the kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar who looks up innocently and says, “What? I’m not doing anything wrong.” From the Denver Business Journal:

“The move is a significant step toward achieving the Boulder community’s goal of accessing an energy supply that is cleaner, reliable and competitively priced,” the city said in an announcement. “In addition, a local electric utility would not be responsible to shareholders seeking profits, enabling customers to have a more significant voice in decision-making.”

According to the article, Boulder wants to acquire “some or all” of nine Xcel substations serving Boulder as well as a 115kV transmission loop and its accessories.  Apparently, the city council voted to create this utility and negotiations directly with Xcel failed.  Last month, Xcel sued Boulder for overstepping its bounds in the process.

Boulder is claiming the right under the state constitution to condemn property with just compensation for the public good. TRANSLATION: Boulder wants Xcel’s property to set up a competitor organization, so it will use condemnation to get it.  There are so many issues with this, we don’t even know where to start.

  • Why is the government competing against private corporations?
  • Why is the government wasting taxpayer dollars to drive a business it wants to take over out of its city limits?
  • Is this a preview of “local control” that fractivists are so fond of?

If this is what local control looks like, it’s scary.  If we weren’t against the inappropriately-named local control push, we are now.

 

SHOT UP: Udall Losing In NYT Predictive Model For First Time

“I believe in freedom: freedom from your own personal choices!”

Less than a week ago Sen. Mark Udall and all Colorado Lefties were excitedly touting a Marist poll that had him up by seven.  Yeah, and for the first few minutes seconds of last year’s Super Bowl, all us Coloradans still liked the Broncos chances against the Seahawks.  The week quickly bottomed out for Udall after that, when two consecutive polls had Rep. Cory Gardner beating him.  Is it time to write another letter Udall?  Perhaps, just toss a fourth press person on your staff; surely, between all of them they can come up with enough gimmicks to distract from your 99% voting record with President Obama.

For the first time this entire election cycle The New York Times Senate forecast at The Upshot predicts Udall has a greater chance of losing reelection than winning (53%-47%).  This is a huge deal, as The Upshot tries to go beyond just the polls and factor in other intangibles about a race, such as, incumbency, fundraising, a state’s past election history among others, who the liberals at the NYT want to win.  All those factors in The Upshot model lean heavily Udall’s way.  Yet, despite this inherent, built-in advantage, Udall can’t overcome one thing: the people of Colorado feel he is too far Left for our independent-minded state.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Udall was still one of the deciding votes on Obamacare, a bill that brought nearly 16% of the entire nation’s economy under more bureaucratic control and heavy government regulations.  This makes it pretty much the antithesis of Udall’s new bogus “Freedom” campaign.

Or, how Udall not only supports Obama’s desire to have more control over 64% of Colorado’s energy industry, but wants Obama to go even further.  Because, nothing says freedom in Colorado, like more bureaucrats in Washington D.C. telling us how to live our lives out here in the West.  And, any definition of freedom in Colorado definitely doesn’t mean an even more restrictive ban on gun magazine size (10), than the already gone too far law (15) that ended up costing three Democratic state Senators their jobs.

Honestly, does Udall not understand the definition of freedom, or is he such an empty shell of a politician, whenever his campaign consultants pull his string, he’ll spout off whatever they tell him to?

Despite Udall’s cash, incumbency, and other advantages, the prognosticators across the spectrum are starting to line up against him.  They must beginning to realize what we’ve known for a long time here in Colorado: when Udall utters the word freedom, all that really comes out of his mouth is horse sh@%.

Instead of freedom from our guns, freedom from our choice of doctors, or freedom from how we get our electricity, Coloradans this fall want freedom from Udall.

 

Peak Feed: UdallLied.com Releases “Underwear in a Bundle” Ad

Today Laura Carno at UdallLied.com released a hilarious new ad asking why liberal Sen. Mark Udall, so desperate to keep his job with the U.S. Senate that he’s invoking  “War on Women” hyperbole, can’t stop talking about women’s birth control.

From the ad:

Hi Senator Udall.  It’s Laura Carno, a constituent of yours from Colorado Springs.

Senator Udall, I just tried Googling “Buy Birth Control” and I got over seventy three million results.  Seventy three million. It seems birth control is about as easy to get as an aspirin.

So I have to ask Senator Udall: Why do you get your underwear all in a bundle about women and birth control?  Do you honestly think we need the government to make these choices for us?

And by the way Senator Udall, your hypocrisy with women is deafening.  We can all agree women’s private health care should stay out of corporate boardrooms.  But don’t forget, you cast the deciding vote that forced the federal government directly in to our medicine cabinets.

It’s time for you to stop butting in to my private medical care Senator Udall.  It’s none of your business.

IACE Action dot com paid for and is responsible for the content of this advertising.  Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

 

SKEWED: Government Employment Up, Private Sector Jobs Down

The only man in Colorado hiring

There seemed to be much breathless excitement over the new employment numbers today.  Colorado gains 3,000 jobs screamed headlines.  It’s all well and good until one reads beyond the headline.

But, looking at the broader economic trend here makes this report a real bummer. As it turns out, those 3,000 jobs were all government hiring.  From the Denver Business Journal report:

“But the Colorado job gain was driven by increased government hiring, with public sector payroll jobs increasing by a net 3,300 last month and private sector positions declining by 300, CDLE, monthly report said.”

Let’s be honest, a government job, for someone out of work, is still a job. But, in terms of genuine economic growth, this ain’t it.  And here’s more bad news, it’s not just that the hiring that happened was all in the public sector, it’s also that the labor force shrunk:

“And while the drop in the state’s unemployment level brought that closely followed measurement to its lowest point since October 2008, the decline was partly driven by a 1,600 decrease in the state’s labor force (defined as working people plus unemployed people actively seeking work).”

Colorado has one of the most highly-educated, innovative work forces in the entire country.  There’s no reason our economy shouldn’t be on fire.

House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso weighed in how shameful for the Colorado economy to be in this shape at this point:

“Losing 300 private sector jobs and having 1,600 people leave the labor force shows our economy is still on shaky ground. I am encouraged to see more Coloradans going back to work, but increasing government jobs is not a long-term solution to improving Colorado’s economy. We must create an environment that will foster sustained private sector job growth and the growth of our labor force if we want the economy Coloradans deserve.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper thought it was a better use of his time this week to pretend to be a rock bluegrass star than focus on helping Colorado’s private sector.  Hick, no one blames you for wanting to do cool things, but being Colorado’s Governor means you sometimes have to sacrifice hanging out with your friends (and having a beer, right?) to do the dirty work to make sure Colorado stays great.

 

BATTLE LINES BEING DRAWN: Polis Ain’t Right if Everybody Else Says He’s Wrong

As millionaire Congressman Jared Polis increasingly finds himself on an island isolated from his fellow Democrats, we are starting to wonder… who else from his own party is going to line up against him? 

Everyone from embattled Sen. Mark Udall to embattled Gov. John Hickenlooper and former Speaker Andrew Romanoff have all come out against Polis’s fracking ban initiatives.  With the prospect of a special session off the table, we want to know which Democrats are with Polis and which ones are against him.  Too many have conveniently been trying to fly under the radar on this, and it’s time to hold them accountable.

Senate President Morgan was less than thrilled about a special session, but she has also called for stricter regulations on oil and gas.  So, will she stand with Polis?

Rep. Ed Perlmutter has been awfully silent on the issue, too.  Liberal bloggers have tried to give Perlmutter cover by claiming he attempted to “talk Polis down,” but we can’t find any public statements from Perlmutter in opposition of the measures themselves.  Come to think of it, this is the first time we’ve heard anyone mention Perlmutter tried to talk Polis down.  Is that even true?

The stakes of this fight are too high for Democrats to play games and be coy about their positions.  We need to know whose side they’re on – Jared Polis’s or the people of Colorado.

 

UPGRADE: Cook Political Report Upgrades Gov Race from Likely D to Leans D

What do you mean I have to run a “real” race?

The Cook Political Report (subscription required) today upgraded the Colorado Governor’s race between Democrat Governor John Hickenlooper and Republican Bob Beauprez from Likely D to Leans D.  A few excerpts from the upgrade notes:

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has watched his political fortunes rise and fall during his first term.  A year ago, he might have been among the most vulnerable incumbents up for re-election after suffering losses on some of his biggest priorities. Then polling taken earlier this year indicated that his position had improved.  It helped that Republicans had a crowded field of candidates….

…At this writing, polls indicate that Hickenlooper might have a race on his hands after all, particularly after botching an attempt to apologize to the state sheriffs’ association for signing several gun control measures.

The upgrade comes after a recent Quinnipiac poll showed that Hickenlooper was trailing Beauprez by a point.  Yes, that’s within the margin of error, but that’s awfully tight for a Governor that is “so well liked” and who was previously considered unbeatable.

As we noted earlier this week, these numbers leave very little room for error. Unfortunately, Hickenlooper is terribly error prone.  The poll also revealed that more people think he doesn’t deserve to be reelected (48%) than do (42%).  Don’t worry, Governor, people still like you and they’d grab beers with you.  It just might not be in the Governor’s mansion.

 

MAN TO BEAT: Quinnipiac Poll Shows That Rand Paul is Colorado’s 2016 Frontrunner

While much ado has been made about the “statistical tie” between Udall and Gardner (who leads by two points) in the most recent Quinnipiac Poll, the poll also found that Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul is the man to beat in Colorado in 2016…at least when paired against presumptive presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

Yes, 2016 is far off.  But, the poll also speaks to Clinton’s vulnerability as a candidate.  Here are the results of the question “if the election for President were being held today, and the candidates were Hillary Clinton the Democrat and Rand Paul the Republican, for whom would you vote?”

Among respondents, 43% would vote for Clinton and 46% would vote for Paul.  While it’s not surprising that the vast majority of Republicans would vote for Paul and the vast majority of Democrats would vote for Clinton, Paul appears to have an edge among Independents (42% would vote Paul, 40% would vote Clinton).

It’s also worth noting that Paul leads among 18-29 year olds (44% to 37%) as well as 30-49 year olds (46% to 44%).

With Paul’s message of shrinking government and its intrusion in our lives, it’s no wonder that Independents and younger voters approve of him over the author of the first attempt at Obamacare, Hillary Clinton.  Democrats still have time to find other candidates and who knows who the Republican nominee will be, but given that Hillary just finished a junket here in Colorado, it must be disappointing to be behind.

 
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