Now, at least two people think Connect for Health Colorado’s chief, Patty Fontneau, shouldn’t get a raise. One of them is Fontneau. The other? Republican U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner. As we reported earlier this week, in a time when the embattled Fontneau should have been focusing on her organization’s dismal performance, the struggling bureaucrat was pressing the exchange’s board of directors for a raise and a bonus. On Friday afternoon, the Denver Business Journal reported that Fontneau is now stepping away from this untimely gaffe. Fontneau earns more than $190,000 per year in her state-funded role, which is four times the average Colorado salary.
Here’s her statement backing away from the bizarre request:
“The attention about my compensation has been a distraction at a time when we are all focused on helping Coloradans enroll in health coverage. To a person, my staff and team of contractors have worked tirelessly to launch and improve our health insurance marketplace and I am proud of their accomplishments, especially amid many external challenges. While we have much more work to do to improve our operations, we are encouraged to see that enrollments are hitting record levels.”
Record levels? For what? A system that never existed? So, technically just one enrollment would be a record, right? It was just last week that the Colorado exchange announced its mid-November private insurance enrollment numbers at 6,001. This was barley half the worst-case enrollment scenario that exchange leaders pegged at 11,108. The enrollment numbers now stand at 9,980 according to a Connect for Health press release, which is still far below the worst-case scenario. It would seem that her pride in her team is unwarranted. But, ok.
In a related action, coming to the rescue with some much needed sanity is Republican U.S. Representative Cory Gardner, who yesterday announced plans to introduce legislation that would bar the leadership groups of the state-run exchanges from obtaining government funded raises and bonuses. It is unfortunate that such a bill has to be introduced, but in an era with an increasingly out of touch government bureaucracy, special measures need to be taken to protect the interests of the people against an ever growing government leviathan.
While Fontneau’s audacious request gives the general public a glimpse into the mind of government “executive,” we should be thankful that we still have leaders such as Gardner, who grew up in his family’s farm implement business, to ground out of control bureaucrats.