Democratic senator’s staff pressured Colorado officials on canceled health plan numbers

Mark Udall

If Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) didn’t want canceled health plans to become a political controversy, then he shouldn’t have voted with his Democratic colleagues to approve the Obamacare regulations that caused 249,199 Coloradans to lose their coverage.

Instead of accepting his role in this particular Obamacare debacle, in November, Udall’s staff actually tried to pressure Colorado insurance officials to revise the number of canceled health plans, according to emails obtained by CompleteColorado.com.

“Sen. Udall says our numbers were wrong. They are not wrong. Cancellation notices affected 249,199 people. They want to trash our numbers,” wrote Jo Donlin, a Colorado Division of Insurance official, in an email to colleagues on November 15. ”I’m holding strong while we get more details. Many have already done early renewals. Regardless, they received cancellation notices.”

Donlin explained in a separate email to a Udall staffer, Joe Britton, that the numbers came from data provided by insurance companies operating in the state. She noted that the Colorado Division of Insurance did require insurers to allow early renewal, which, as indicated in her comments above, was an option that some affected Coloradans chose.

Udall’s staff wasn’t satisfied with the response.

“We need to move on this ASAP – or we’ll be forced to challenge the 249K number ourselves,” wrote Britton in a threatening email to another Colorado Division of Insurance official. “It is wildly off or at least very misleading and reporters keep repeating it.”

It just so happens that this all occurred around the time that polls began to show that Udall is vulnerable in the general election. Red State Democrats were in a panic over the canceled plans and President Obama, who offered a half-hearted apology to those hit by the regulations, saw his job approval numbers tank.

CompleteColorado.com points out that Udall’s staff followed through, referencing a story from The Denver Post entitled, “Were Coloradans canceled, or offered a renewal of their health policy?”

Udall and his staff’s complaints are, ultimately, worthless. The fact of the matter is that 249,199 Coloradans, as of mid-November, were forced out of the health plan that they had. These cancellations happened despite Udall’s promises that his constituents would be able to keep their health plans under Obamacare.

Unfortunately, Udall broke that promise.

In September 2010, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) offered a resolution of disapproval that would have rejected the regulations submitted the administration. The rules made it virtually impossible for insurance companies to maintain a plan’s “grandfathered” status, which refers to any plans in effect before March 23, 2010.

Enzi warned that the regulations would “fundamentally change the health insurance plans of millions of Americans.” He noted, citing the administration’s own reports, that up to 69% of businesses and 80% of small businesses would lose the grandfathered status of their health insurance plans because of Obamacare.

Despite his promise to Coloradans, Udall voted with every other Senate Democrat to defeat the resolution to ensure that Americans could keep their health plans under Obamacare.

The numbers of canceled plans are irrelevant — whether it’s 10,000 or 100,000 or 249,199. The fact of the matter is that Udall wasn’t honest with his constituents. He sold them a version of the “Lie of the Year.” He can futilely try to blame state officials, but he owns Obamacare.

 


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