If DOI Commissioner Salazar says the plans are legal, they are. It’s magic.

This morning, Complete Colorado‘s Todd Shepherd dropped a bombshell – despite acknowledging that new health plans were illegal under the Affordable Care Act, Colorado’s Department of Insurance greenlighted them anyway.  Here’s a snippet from his story:

“According to internal emails from late March, DOI Commissioner Marguerite Salazar was certain the state would be breaking the law if it allowed the sale of some older health insurance plans which didn’t meet all of the ACA requirements.

The March 26 email summarized a meeting between a few of the highest officials and stakeholders involved with the implementation of the ACA in Colorado. Michelle Patarino, a consultant with “Collaborative Health Solutions,” created a post-meeting summary, which included a bullet point: ‘No specific timeframe was given, but Commissioner Salazar made it clear that allowing sale of non-ACA [compliant] plans would require legislative action.'”

Following that meeting, they asked for legislative action, right?  Wrong.  Just five weeks later, the Department of Insurance announced the sale of non-ACA compliant plans.  Insurance Commissioner, Marguerite Salazar, already in hot water for her response to accusations of fudging numbers, used her “rulemaking” power to make the plans legal.  Yes, it’s magic like that.

But, what does this have to do with Sen. Mark Udall?  His election in 2014 is…contentious, to say the least. One of the major complaints from voters is that he was part of the crew saying if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.  That was a big, fat lie.  Many have lost the plans they liked – over 335,000 to be exact.  Allowing Coloradans to keep non-compliant ACA plans through 2015 gives Udall political cover through the 2014 election.  Can you imagine if there was another tidal wave of cancellations due to Obamacare?  Exactly.

Look, we’re fine with extending the option for non-Obamacare compliant plans for eternity because telling people what kind of health insurance they “need” is nanny statism at its worst.  But, we have to ask whether Salazar’s rulemaking, allowing non-compliant plans to be purchased through 2015, is a cheap political ploy to save her buddy Udall’s hide.