DENVER (AP) – Democrats and Republicans in Colorado agreed Tuesday that the state health insurance exchange needs a deep review.
But, of course, they said they expect different conclusions from a new state audit for Connect For Health Colorado.
A House committee voted 13-0 Tuesday to order a deeper analysis of the exchange than has been done in the past.
Republicans pushed unsuccessfully for the audit last year, with Democrats blocking the audit because they said the exchange needed more time to get on its feet. A year later, that time appears to have come.
“The exchange we created in Colorado is one of the best in the country,” said Rep. Max Tyler, D-Lakewood.
Tyler was one of the lawmakers who helped set up the exchange after it was created in 2011, and he voted for the expanded audit Tuesday. He predicted the audit would show that the exchange has glitches but is performing well overall.
On Monday, board members of the exchange voted to give themselves a new audit as well.
The Colorado exchange has avoided many problems that plagued other state exchanges. But it has still experienced cost overruns and consumer delays.
A state audit released in December faulted Connect For Health for a lack of adequate financial controls and more than $30 million worth of exchange payments and contracts lacking proper documentation or procedural controls.
The new audit would expand that review to include questions like the future sustainability of the quasi-public exchange.
The state so far has relied on nearly $200 million in federal startup funds, but the exchange soon will have to rely on payments from patients to be self-sustaining. Exchange officials insist they’re on track to run without federal tax money. Republicans said they have their doubts.
Republican sponsors of the expanded audit said Tuesday that the review isn’t meant to be an indictment of the federal health care law. But they argued that ongoing complaints about delays and glitches with the exchange demand a deeper look.
“We deserve an answer. The constituents deserve an answer, and the people who bought this deserve an answer,” said Rep. Janak Joshi, R-Colorado Springs.
LINK: Senate Bill 52
– By Kristen Wyatt, AP Writer
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