One would think that as Colorado is trying to set up an enterprise that is charged with conducting complicated activities that have been performed in the private sector for decades, it would take all of the industry experience it could find, especially when it has been a struggle nearly every step of the way. Not so for our esteemed health insurance exchange, which is shaping up to be another landmine in the road to implementation of Obama’s landmark healthcare legislation, the strangely-named Affordable Care Act.
The Denver Business Journal’s Ed Sealover reported that Governor Hickenlooper did not re-appoint two of the three insurance industry representatives to the board that is overseeing the implementation of the state’s health insurance exchange. Beth Soberg of United Healthcare and Robert Ruiz-Moss of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield were not re-appointed to the commission.
Pressuring Hichenlooper’s to not re-appoint Soberg and Ruiz-Moss was the left-wing Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, a group that recently teamed with ProgressNow Colorado to create a website titled “Thanks Obamacare!” Luckily for these collaborators, their offices are located one floor apart in the same Wynkoop downtown office building – how convenient.
New to the commission will be Sharon O’Hara, who works for the patient advocacy group National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and Ellen Daehnich, who owns a bakery in Lakewood. Daehnick appeared in a press conference alongside Democrat State Representative Crisanta Duran in support of an August 2012 Colorado campaign appearance for President Obama. She stated that Obama’s policies allowed her to grow her confections business to an enterprise employing two part-time workers in two years.
We are sure that both of these women are concerned citizens who want this state insurance program to succeed, but let’s not kid ourselves about their capabilities to oversee this process, especially as compared to the two experienced insurance executives who they replaced.
With Hickenlooper accommodating left-wing political pressure to play musical chairs with the members of his health exchange board, just three short months before the state’s exchange needs to be operational, we are not sure how serious he is about this endeavor.
Certainly replacing two insurance executives with people having relatively little direct knowledge about that industry is questionable, as is the timing of the removal of the insurance executive from United Health. United Health announced just three days earlier that it would exit the individual insurance market in California. It would be shameful if the two events were linked.