DENVER, Colo. - Two bills aimed at holding Colorado's ObamaCare exchange accountable passed out of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee today.
SB15-019 sponsored by Senator Sonnenberg (R-Sterling) and Sen. Jahn (D-Wheat Ridge) passed out of committee on a 5-0 bipartisan vote and would grant the state auditor the authority to conduct a performance review of Colorado's ObamaCare exchange, Connect for Health Colorado. A similar effort was blocked by Senate Democrats last year despite broad bipartisan support and a recent limited audit performed by the state found glaring examples of mismanagement.
"Since a very limited audit of Colorado's health care exchange turned up a number of serious problems, it's important we have a full performance audit to really look under the hood of this problem plagued organization. Taxpayers deserve to know if their money is being spent appropriately and this legislation is a big step forward for accountability at Colorado's health care exchange," said Sen. Sonnenberg. "It's a shame that partisan Democrats and Connect for Health fought this audit so hard last year instead of opening up their books for inspection. In the meantime we've seen rampant mismanagement and misplaced priorities instead of responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars."
SB15-052 sponsored by Sen. Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa) passed out of committee on a 3-2 vote and would require any bonus for executives at Connect for Health Colorado to be approved by the Legislative Health Benefit Exchange Implementation Review Committee.
Sen. Crowder's bill is in direct response to Connect for Health Colorado awarding its CEO a $14,000 bonus last year amid questions about the exchange's performance and financial sustainability.
"Coloradans expect their tax dollars to be spent wisely and awarding bonuses to executives of a struggling organization like Connect for Health Colorado doesn't live up to that standard," said Sen. Crowder. "I'm proud this bill has passed committee and I look forward to it passing both chambers of the legislature and being signed by Governor Hickenlooper."
Colorado's ObamaCare exchange - also known as Connect for Health - has received bipartisan criticism for its mismanagement and poor business practices. The organization was recently the subject of a 'scathing' limited audit performed by the Colorado Office of the State Auditor and has been widely criticized for its spending practices.