The genesis for the legislation came in the form of news that the president of Colorado’s exchange sought to pad her $190,000 salary with a bonus of up to 10 percent of her pay plus a three percent salary raise, despite the agency’s failure to meet even half of its quota to enroll new customers.
The story about Patty Fontneau, the chief executive officer of Connect for Health Colorado, was first reported by the University of Colorado publication Health Policy Solutions on Nov. 25 and soon made national headlines.
The final decision about bonuses and raises for Fontneau was to be made behind closed doors in executive session as enrollment rates slowly reached 10,000, well below the 60,000 expected by the Dec. 23 deadline.
That failure to meet the lowest target number calls into questions the exchange’s ability to fund its operations when federal grants are exhausted in 2016, Gardner said.
“Those running the exchanges need to put more effort into raising enrollment numbers, and less time figuring out how to make more taxpayer money,” Gardner said.
“While hundreds of thousands of Coloradans were dealing with cancellation and rate increase notices in October, the CEO of Connect for Health Colorado seemingly had more pressing concerns at hand – making sure that her taxpayer-funded salary grew even larger,” Gardner said.
State exchange employees should not be seeking special treatment, and Gardner also said that in addition to blocking the bonuses, he would continue efforts to overturn the contentious law.
“Americans have spoken loud and clear, they want this law gone and replaced with affordable and reasonable healthcare solutions,” Gardner said.
Taxpayers will pay Fontneau’s salary until 2016, by which time the exchanges are expected to be self-sustaining.