Democratic Colorado Sen. Mark Udall’s office tried to “trash” independent numbers about Obamacare-related insurance cancellations in his state, according to emails from inside the Colorado Department of Insurance (DOI).
“Sen. Udall says our numbers were wrong. They are not wrong. Cancellation notices affected 249,199 people. They want to trash our numbers. I’m holding strong while we get more details. Many have already done early renewals. Regardless, they received cancellation notices,” according to a November 14 email COI director of external affairs Jo Donlin sent to her colleagues. The email was published by completecolorado.com.
“Following my e-mail, I received a very hostile phone call from Udall’s deputy chief of staff. [Insurance Commissioner] Marguerite [Salazar] is on the phone with [Udall's] chief of staff right now. Happy Friday!,” Donlin wrote in a subsequent email.
“We need to move on this ASAP — or we’ll be forced to challenge the 249K number ourselves. It is wildly off or at least very misleading and reporters keep repeating it,” Udall staffer Joe Britton wrote in an email Nov. 14, the day after President Obama declared that canceled plans could be kept for a year.
The media reported on the 249,000 Colorado cancellations on Nov. 6, and by Nov. 14 Udall’s office was already warring with the independent state insurance department.
“It’s downright shameful that Sen. Udall would attempt to intimidate state employees to give him political cover after he was caught lying to Coloradans,” said the Colorado Republican Party’s Ryan Call. Former Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams said that the matter “deserves a full investigation by federal and state authorities.”
Sen. Udall’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.