DENVER, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- Health insurance regulators in Colorado said Sen. Mark Udall's staff did not try to intimidate bureaucrats to report a lower number of canceled policies.
Colorado Division of Insurance Director Barbara Kelley reviewed emails and interviewed several staff members who interacted with Udall's staff after Republicans claimed the Democrat sought to downplay the number of Coloradans who received health policy cancellation notices.
Initially, the insurance division said 250,000 residents saw their policies canceled but Udall argued the vast majority were still allowed to renew their plans, the Denver Post reported Tuesday.
"A neutral and objective panel from the executive director's office interviewed a number of Division of Insurance staff, collected and reviewed emails and other correspondence between the [division] and Senator Udall's staff," Kelley wrote in response to a request for an investigation by Rep. Amy Stephens, R-Colo., who is among the Republicans challenging Udall in this year's election.
"The Department of Regulatory Agencies can run interference on behalf of Senator Udall and his abusive staff, if it chooses, but the intimidating emails from Udall's staff speak for themselves," Stephens said in response.
Finishing the review, Colorado Insurance Commissioner Marguerite Salazar said 335,500 Colorado residents received cancellation notices under the Affordable Care Act. Of them, the vast majority, 308,840, were offered the opportunity to renew the coverage despite the cancellation.
"In fact, Barbara Kelley concluded that the productive interaction with Senator Udall's office helped the Division of Insurance arrive at a number that has more relevance for healthcare consumers because cancellations with renewal options are different from cancellations without renewal options," Udall spokesman Mike Saccone said. "This was Senator Udall's objective all along."