WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa is asking the federal agency responsible for implementing the health care co-ops created under the President’s health care law to explain its role in the collapse of Iowa’s co-op, CoOportunity.

“I am extremely concerned about the thousands of Iowans who are impacted by CoOportunity’s failure, in particular CMS’s role in the failure,” Grassley wrote to Administrator Marilyn Tavenner of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  “Both CoOportunity and the Iowa Insurance Commissioner told CMS last summer that it would need additional funding to continue to offer coverage.  While CoOportunity was facing financial challenges, if CMS had informed it earlier that it would not receive additional funds it could have taken steps to potentially avoid failure.  CMS’s lack of openness appears to have played a significant part in CoOportunity’s failure.  It also raises questions about how CMS administered the co-op funding and its process for informing states about assistance decisions.”  

Grassley asked a series of questions about how and when CMS decided to make loans to the co-ops created under the health care law around the country, including CoOportunity, and for details of information given by the agency to CoOportunity on how much funding was available to the co-op.

Grassley voted against the President’s health care law, enacted in 2010.  He continues to work to ease the law’s negative effects on job creation and seek accountability for federal agency actions in implementing the law.

Grassley’s letter to the CMS administrator is available here.