Why Colorado’s Obamacare snafu is worse than you think
posted at 11:50 am on September 27, 2013 by Guy Benson
Earlier in the week, AP highlighted the revelation that Washington, DC’s Obamacare exchanges won’t be ready to meet next Tuesday’s deadline. Ed chimed in, pointing out a special irony:
The punchline here, as Ed notes via e-mail, is that WaPo was touting the D.C. exchange for small businesses just two days ago as a model of preparedness while federal administrators were busy struggling to get their own exchanges up and running by October 1. That in itself was a joke because, as Ed explained on Monday, D.C.’s a small market where the vast, vast majority already have insurance. If any jurisdiction should be ready to roll on launch day, it’s that one. Instead, the logistics of calculating subsidies for individual enrollees are evidently so daunting that Health Link had no choice but to absorb the humiliation of announcing this postponement.
Basically, if a tiny jurisdiction that’s packed full of government bureaucrats can’t get their exchange off the ground without a hitch, just imagine the trouble other states must be in. Then came MKH’s companion post about the state of Colorado following suit with a similar delay. The Rocky Mountain state’s decision is actually worse than meets the eye. Why? For a similar reason as the WaPo/DC about-face. Late last month, Colorado’s new state insurance commissioner made an attention-grabbing statement. Marguerite Salazar, you see, had just left her post at HHS, where she’d been monitoring the patchwork of Obamacare exchanges taking shape across the country. Things were a bit of a mess in certain states, she confessed, but not in Colorado:
She kept a close eye on the process in the job she just left, as regional administrator for the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS). “When I was at the federal level, I would see across the country which states are in trouble,” she said, “Colorado is not one of them.” Which states are in trouble? “I can’t remember,” she said with a laugh.
“With a laugh.” Yeah. Hilarious. Anyway, this admission is important. Salazar had an inside look at which states were in hot water over implementation and concluded that “Colorado [was] not one of them.” And yet, Colorado has been forced to push back the start date of its fully-operational exchange. Remember, DC, Colorado and Oregon are the three states and districts that have ‘fessed up to their unreadiness…so far. The former two jurisdictions have both been touted as models of efficiency within the last few weeks, and all three are governed by Democrats. Oh, and all three are not relying on the bogged-down feds to operate their exchanges. The scope of Tuesday’s trainwreck may be epic. How will the Left react? A furious tornado of denial and blame, to be sure — but as Phil Klein points out, it’s going to be awfully hard for Democrats to pin their problems on “GOP obstructionism” in places like DC, Colorado and Oregon.