When we pushed back yesterday against the article written about liberal U.S. Senator Mark Udall’s office pressure on Colorado’s Division of Insurance to fudge the number of insurance cancellations due to Obamacare, we had no idea that its author, exiting Denver Post reporter Michael Booth (who bylined the article), had an interest in seeing the Obamacare effort succeed. But, it turns out he does. His new gig (we’re not sure when it starts) is with the Colorado Health Foundation per his tweet earlier this week:
Thanks @denverpost for 25 years’ license to ask, explain, critique + tell stories. Looking forward to @COHealthFDN work. Support journalism.
— Michael Booth (@mboothDP) January 6, 2014
But, what does the Colorado Health Foundation have to do with Obamacare? According to Colorado Consumer Health Initiative’s project website, it’s one of the backers to help implement the Colorado Exchange. From the CCHI website:
Fund for Implementation of Affordable Care Act (ACA) Project
The ACA Implementation Fund Project aims to bring consumer voices to the table in the design and implementation of Colorado’s Health Benefit Exchange, to ensure that the Exchange increases access to affordable, high-quality health insurance and to maximize the impact consumer advocates have in the implementation of the ACA. Tools such as advocacy, public education, coalition building and grassroots organizing will be used.
There are two project partners in addition to CCHI, Colorado Center on Law and Policy and Colorado Public Interest Research Group
Community Catalyst manages this project. Collaboration to create the Fund is supported by the following national foundations:
- The Atlantic Philanthropies
- The California Endowment
- The Nathan Cummings Foundation
- Ford Foundation
- The Jacob and Valeria Langeloth Foundation
- The Rockefeller Foundation.
The following local foundations provided a match to the original funding:
- The Colorado Health Foundation
- Caring for Colorado Foundation
- Rose Community Foundation
So, Colorado Health Foundation has an interest in seeing the Colorado Exchange and Obamacare succeed and thrive because the organization helped fund its implementation. In fairness to Booth, he hasn’t started the job yet (to our knowledge) and perhaps he isn’t aware of the obvious conflict of interest, but we think it would have been most appropriate for him to disclose his new role in conjunction with the article that he wrote since he’s covering the beat.
Is this another Curtis Hubbard situation, again, where a Denver Post reporter provides his or her new employer cover until he or she finally leaves to officially advocate for the organization as a spokesperson? We certainly hope not. Health insurance and this scandal is far too important.
Memo to Michael Booth: "Journalism" is not repackaging a favored politician's talking points.