Gardner Presses for Answers on Solvency of Colorado Healthcare Co-Op

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced today that he has sent a letter to Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell asking questions about the financial solvency of the federally-backed Colorado Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) called Colorado HealthOP, and its ability to repay its loans to the American taxpayer.

Established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as an alternative to private insurance plans, CO-OPs nationwide were awarded roughly $6 billion in federally-backed loans. CO-OPs in numerous states have experienced financial difficulty, and several, including in Louisiana, Iowa and Nebraska, and Nevada, have failed outright.  Due to these failures, and the lack of oversight by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the CO-OPs have lost $277 million dollars. Colorado HealthOP reportedly serves 40 percent of Colorado's exchange sign-ups and was granted a $72.3 million dollar loan. 

Gardner’s letter to Burwell asks for more information about the performance of Colorado HealthOP, and whether taxpayers have any hope of seeing the millions of dollars in loans given out to Colorado HealthOP repaid.

The letter reads, in part:

Considering the recent CO-OP closures, what metrics has your agency put in place as a basis to determine which CO-OPs are underperforming? Has Colorado HealthOP been meeting its application projections, or has it been placed on boosted oversight by your agency? Are there other metrics you consider to determine if Colorado HealthOP is on a sustainable trajectory? Using these metrics, what is the estimated ability of Colorado HealthOP to repay its loans?

The full letter is available here.                                                                                         


Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.


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