What happens when a project fails to even meet the worst case scenario projections? We’re about to find out as that’s the scenario the Colorado Exchange program is facing currently, according to a report by The Denver Post. The lede of this article alone should make exchange supporters cringe:
“Enrollment in the Affordable Care Act through Colorado’s health insurance exchange is barely half the state’s worst-case projection, prompting demands from exchange board members for better stewardship of public money.”
Post reporter Michael Booth found damning information when he CORA’d the emails between exchange board members:
“The exchange, meant for individuals and small groups buying insurance, had projected a lowest-level mid-November enrollment of 11,108, in a presentation to a board finance committee. The exchange announced Nov. 18 that it had signed up 6,001 Coloradans so far.”
So, what does this mean for the exchange? According to the article:
“As federal startup grants taper off under Obamacare funding, the exchange is meant to pay for itself with per-member charges on the private insurance companies offering policies. It needs 136,300 enrollees in 2014 to raise $6.5 million of its $51.4 million expenses.”
In short, in order for this to be a successful program, it needs approximately 130,000 more enrollees in the exchange. That’s a daunting task given its lackluster performance thus far. The exchange, which is estimated to have cost taxpayers at least $180 million so far, has already blown through $21 million in advertising. Last week, it was revealed the exchange planned to dump another $4.2 million into advertising for the flailing program. And, that’s after the misogynistic ProgressNow ads (which weren’t paid for with taxpayer dollars, but were offensive).
This brings Colorado back to the real issue at hand – you can spend millions to advertise a terrible product, but Coloradans are smarter than a series of slick ads. At some point, those responsible for Obamacare (ahem, we’re looking at you Sen. Mark Udall) have to take a step back and wonder if this was the worst idea ever.