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Insurance exchange cloud darkens with more secrecy

Insurance exchange cloud darkens with more secrecy

Wayne Hoffman
November 13, 2013
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November 13, 2013

It's not terribly shocking that the Ottercare insurance exchange board voted to keep secret the results of an investigation into the now-nixed sweetheart deal for a former exchange board member. Not shocking, but still wrong.

The exchange hired an attorney to do the investigation, so now the attorney's report is being held confidential as a matter of attorney-client privilege. How clever. If you want to keep your dirty laundry from being aired, just hire an attorney to do the investigating.

A subset of this decision is, of course, a question of whether an employee, Ottercare Executive Director Amy Dowd, erred in making the $375,000 contract available to Frank Chan. One might argue that Dowd's decisions, good or bad, deserve a level of confidentiality. Perhaps. And perhaps not.

There is a cloud hovering about the insurance exchange. None of that will be cleared up through secrecy. Furthermore, there are lingering questions about not only what Dowd did or didn't do, but what others in her midst may have done nor not done. What role did other board members play? What role did the exchange's lawyer play? Was the governor's office or any other elected officials consulted or otherwise involved? The exchange board is basically telling us we have no right to know the answers to those questions.

The good news, however, as I have mentioned previously, is that there are 14 state Senate confirmation hearings coming in 2014 for those insurance exchange board members. If state lawmakers don't ask questions about the handling of this contract—and those questions are not asked repeatedly of each of the board members—I will be really shocked and dismayed, and that shock may convert to horror and outrage.

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