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Failure of the New SB200 Health Exchange Board   July 7th, 2011
This was predictable... in fact, many did....       


More observations...

The Denver Post is reporting that consumer groups are questioning whether the health exchange oversight board created by SB200 can actually be independent given its special-interest ties. This is not unexpected.

The newly appointed health-insurance-exchange board includes a majority of members with a previously undisclosed series of connections, closely tying the board to the insurance and information-technology industries.

Consumer advocates now question whether the board, meant to oversee a health care shopping site for the benefit of hundreds of thousands of state residents, can be independent, given its strong ties to existing industry players.

Four of the board's nine members are executives with managed-care or insurance companies likely to benefit from the many Coloradans who will buy insurance and care through the exchanges... A fifth board member is an executive of a large health-technology company that has had vendor contracts with at least three of the four managed-care companies represented on the board...

Ethically, the board members will have to constantly recuse themselves from votes, in which case they're not a functioning board, Arenales said. TriZetto's [Health technology company on the baord] connections to so many board members and its previously stated belief that there is "gold" to be found in government spending "seems to us to be a major conflict of interest," she said.

Please read the entire Denver Post article. The article goes on to indicate that a majority of the board can fairly be considered industry insiders with something to gain from being on the board.

This is not unexpected. I predicted as much back in April:

I wrote in April: As many as four of the nine members on the board may be representatives of/associated with the insurance industry.

Not surprisingly, the maximum four members of the board that can be from the insurance industry are from the insurance industry.

I wrote in April: The experience required of a prospective appointee to the board is such that it would seem that the majority of appointees will probably be those that are either currently or previously associated with insurance interests. While some small business owners and IT experts could qualify, it would appear that those that would meet the largest number of experience requirements would be those previously having worked in the insurance industry...

Indeed, the fifth member of the board is an IT expert in the health-technology industry... with a company that just so happens to have commercial relationships with three of the insurance companies on the board.

So five of the nine board members are in the health care industry, either insurance providers or in health technology. "Foxes guarding the henhouse" comes to mind.

But it was important that we create a health exchange on "our" terms, right? These were our terms???

The health exchange board has only just been named and already there are allegations of the health industry overseeing itself, too little in the way of consumer advocates, and a lot of questions about conflicts of interests and prior "connections."

SB200 is already a failure, and it should have never passed the Republican-controlled Colorado statehouse.

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