In April, 2014, emails from Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar to various Colorado officials discussed what to do about the high Obamacare premiums in Colorado’s resort counties. Obamacare caused skyrocketing premiums in Colorado’s ski resort counties, and the discussion was about how to redistribute the premium increases.
Ms. Salazar sought rate quotes from Rocky Mountain Health Plans. It said that moving Garfield county into Mesa County’s rating area would increase Mesa County rates by 5.8 percent and leave Pitkin, Eagle, and Summit counties with rate increases of 8.1 percent. Moving Garfield into a combination of all of the Western Slope counties except Mesa would increase premiums in them by 2.2 percent. Premiums in the counties left behind would rise by 8.1 percent. Ms. Salazar had previously told Garfield County Commissioner Frank Hutfless that moving Garfield County would reduce its premiums by “about 29 percent.” (The full email is embedded below.)
State officials ultimately decided to move Garfield, Pitkin, Eagle, and Summit counties (the resort group) into the Western Slope counties with Mesa county excluded (the Western Slope group). Under Obamacare rules, the premiums for mandated health coverage in the counties that moved would go down, and the premiums in the group of counties that they moved into would go up.
In 2012, the majority of the counties in the Western Slope group, everything west of the red line in the map below except Mesa County (in pink), had lower estimated household incomes than the resort group. This means that counties with lower average household incomes will have their premiums go up so that people with higher average household incomes on average can have their premiums go down.
In Colorado, Obamacare is such bad policy that it encourages politicians to take from the relatively poor and give to the relatively rich.
(Click to enlarge photo)