When the leader of an organization doubts the future of that organization, it’s time to get worried. In Colorado, the head of the state’s ObamaCare exchange doesn’t see a rosy financial future for Connect for Health Colorado, and that’s a bad sign.
In a meeting with state lawmakers earlier this week, Sharon O’Hara, chairman of the organization’s board, “expressed doubts about the organization’s ability to become financially viable.” She said she’s not certain, “If this is doable.”
Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik asked of O’Hara, “You said if this is doable?”
“I have my doubts on good days,” O’Hara responded. “Today is not one of my good days.”
Taxpayers and a federal grant of $179 million helped to get Connect for Health Colorado off the ground but, “the exchange is ultimately supposed to be self-sustaining, funded through the sale of insurance plans.”
Unfortunately for the state’s exchange, “enrollment numbers have not met expectations laid out in the financial modeling created before the exchange became operational.”
Connect for Health Colorado currently charges a fees on almost all health insurance plans sold in Colorado, whether they are on the exchange or not. This has been controversial, but the exchange’s board will continue to have this option as a funding mechanism. A money source they will likely tap for the foreseeable future.
One former Connect for Health official thinks taxpayers may ultimately end up on the hook for the exchange’s poor setup and management.
Former board member Ellen Daehnik predicted to 9NEWS that the state government may eventually need to bail out the exchange by taking it over, instead of leaving it in its current form as a quasi-governmental entity.
Do taxpayers in Colorado have extra money to throw into a failing exchange? Not just a little money, but millions upon millions of dollars.
Another option may be to scrap the exchange altogether, much like what we saw in Oregon, and switch over to the federal Healthcare.gov marketplace, which has had more than its share of problems too.
O’Hara did throw out one ray of hope. She said that the new CEO they are likely to hire “has the key skills that are really important” to turn the exchange’s financial situation around. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.