On the heels of major problems during Connect for Health Colorado’s second open enrollment period, former C4HCO board member Ellen Daehnick is not holding anything back. Daehnick, who describes herself as an Obamacare supporter who campaigned for Obama and even held a press conference at her small business to support the president’s re-election bid, sat down with 9News reporter Brandon Rittiman to discuss the exchange’s lack of transparency and failed leadership.
Daehnick revealed shocking incompetence woven into a suffocating bureaucracy. Rittiman’s interview showed that while Daehnick served on the board during the planning and build out of the problematic Shared Eligibility System (SES), she could not get answers to some of the most basic questions about this massively expensive government IT project, such as:
- Who is in charge?
- How much money are we spending?
- What are the key dates?
- What are the deliverables?
- What are the milestones?
Daehnick described the culture around C4HCO as defensive, with a “bunker response to questioning or criticism.” She accused C4HCO of only wanting to report on matters that are favorable to its agenda, and mentioned a pattern where “if something is unfavorable it is not measured and not reported.”
Speaking of all things unfavorable…. As the books closed for 2015 enrollments on Sunday, a back office glitch that reduced or eliminated subsidies for low income users of the exchange made the premiums appear unaffordable for many exchange participants.
At fault was the SES, which is managed by a leaderless conglomerate of state bureaucracies, including the Governor’s Office of Information Technology, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Labor and Employment, the Department of Healthcare Policy and FInancing, and the Colorado Benefits Management System. This Hydra, the SES, has such an ill-defined organizational structure that the Colorado Department of Healthcare Policy and Financing could not even tell Rittiman’s investigation who was in charge.
This embarrassment comes on the heels of C4HCO disclosure that more than 3,600 plans that were set for automatic renewal were cancelled.
With such stonewalling from Hichenlooper’s administration, we wonder if Daehnick is relieved to be absolved from any further frustrations with this glaring incompetence and stubborn lack of transparency. It is obvious that the members of the board are unable to exercise suitable oversight because of the roadblocks set up around this monster. Are these impediments a result of incompetence or deceit? Probably both.