Connect for Health Colorado officials had better start sharpening their pencils and erasers, because senators have taken a significant step to require a performance audit.

The Democratic-controlled body bowed down to pressure last year from health exchange officials, who insisted their books were clean and that more than $136 million in federal funds had been responsibly spent.

Only the books were a mess, and an audit last month revealed at least $32 million in questionable spending.

The unanimous 5-0 bipartisan vote Wednesday in the Health and Human Services Committee advances the new audit bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg and Democratic Sen. Cheri Jahn, along with GOP Rep. Dan Nordberg in the House.


Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg



With the new Republican majority, we’re optimistic this bill will reach the governor’s desk and he will sign it, especially now that Connect for Health wants to charge every single insurance holder in the state a monthly fee, even if they are not a part of the fledgling exchange.

“Whether you support the program or not it is important to make sure the tax dollars spent by the exchange are spent on what they were intended to be spent on,” Sonnenberg told us.

He is also confident that this year’s efforts will be successful. “I know of no one that opposes the audit so yes, I believe it will pass and the exchange board and director have pledged to be supportive. I have not visited with the governor’s office on this bill so don’t know if he would veto or not. Since this is about transparency and good government, I would think he would sign it,” Sonnenberg said.

Sen. Larry Crowder, who chairs the committee, also saw his own bill pass today requiring stricter oversight of those frivolous bonuses that health officials have been passing around like a bowl of M&Ms, while 300,000 Coloradans watched their health insurance vanish.

Instead of cash bonuses, maybe the top dogs over there could reward each other with those expensive tchotchkes on which they’ve spent our hard-earned tax dollars, like the bouncy house rentals and $40,000 chap stick.

Bouncy House