Colorado, which is preparing for the Oct. 1 launch of its new online insurance marketplace, expects bumps in the road as residents start enrolling in new health coverage options created by the Affordable Care Act. “We’re going to have 500,000 new customers,” said Marguerite Salazar, the state’s new insurance commissioner, during an Aug. 19 interview – her second day on the job. “Just think of how many possibilities there are for things to go wrong there.” She has great faith in the staff she’s now leading at Colorado’s Division of Insurance, she said, but is realistic about the big changes that are coming. “We know it’s not going to be just a completely smooth transition as people who have never had insurance buy it and try to figure out how to use it. … Also, insurance companies, which are not used to dealing with people who are previously uninsured, are going to find themselves having different issues with their customers. The Division of insurance is going to step up to make sure we can help both sides,” Salazar said.
Never fear, Coloradans -- Ms. Salazar is quite confident that the Centennial State's Obamacare mess will be less ugly than a lot of other states, based on the information to which she was privy in her previous job:
Salazar is confident that Colorado will at least have a functioning exchange by the October deadline. 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.
Yes, laugh it up. It's only people's healthcare. Earlier this month, The Hill reported that young people in Colorado are set to see their premiums soar by triple-digit percentages thanks to the new law:
Young people in Colorado will pay more to buy a bare-bones insurance plan under ObamaCare, according to the state's rate information. The average premium for a middle-of-the-road policy will roughly hold steady across the state, but premiums for the cheapest policies appear likely to rise. A 27-year-old, non-smoker would pay $135 per month next year for the state's cheapest catastrophic plan — the skimpiest level of coverage available through the healthcare law's new insurance exchanges. That's about 140 percent more than the cheapest policy on the market today.
And if young people are turned off by premiums spikes and decline to sign up, insurers will have no choice to jack up rates even further on everyone else, perhaps triggering an adverse-selection driven "death spiral." Meanwhile, many HHS bureaucrats still don't know the basics of what's in Obamacare. Among those Americans who are somewhat or very knowledgeable about the law, a solid majority disapprove of it, according to Gallup. I'll leave you with the Obamacare column of the week, in which Phil Kerpen begs conservatives to "unclrcle the firing squad" on Obamacare tactics, and unite against vulnerable 2014 Democrats:
Republicans have largely squandered an August that should have been spent preparing the American people for a showdown with Democrats over the president’s health care law. Instead, efforts have largely been diverted to a damaging internecine fight between proponents and critics of the defund strategy. Give credit to the defunders for stepping up with a strategy and filling a bizarre leadership vacuum on the issue. But their tactic of engaging in personal attacks and paid media buys against Republicans who disagree with them on strategy – but not on policy – is counterproductive. Even worse, the bitter and over-the-top attacks against the defunders by other Republicans have been even more poisonous. The end result is that Democrats who are in cycle in 2014 – like Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, and Mark Pryor – have largely gotten a free pass in a month that should have been as intense as the famous August four years ago that almost prevented the law from passing...I support defund and I also support delay. I’ll support any strategy that can protect the American people from this train wreck. There is not much time left before legislative deal-making will begin in earnest. For the sake of the American people, it’s critical that opponents of the president’s health care law use the limited time we have left to bring maximum pressure to bear on Senate Democrats.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography