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Covered California Cash Cow

Wednesday January 29th, 2014   •   Posted by K. Lloyd Billingsley at 6:00am PST   •  

CoveredCalifornia_200To all but the willfully blind Obamacare is a bust on health care, but it works much better as a way to expand government. Obamacare and its state subsidiaries also function as a cushy landing spot for former government officials.

As this report notes, Covered California has hired Ana Matosantos, California’s former director of finance, to advise the state exchange on “financial sustainability and budgeting issues, and evaluation analytics.” Covered California will pay Matosantos $20,000 a month. That is big money for someone who was not qualified for her previous government post.

For director of finance, taxpayers have a right to expect a proven economist with an earned PhD or at least an advanced degree. Ana Matosantos holds a BA in political science and feminist studies. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger hired her anyway and Governor Jerry Brown duly kept her on as state finance director.

Her finance department included the bureau of state audits, but Matosantos proved clueless about $54 million the state parks department had stashed away. But right around election time in 2012 her department claimed to have discovered an extra $1.4 billion for the budget. How convenient. Matosantos, once busted for drunk driving, resigned last year and is now bagging big bucks with Covered California, which recently released a promotional video featuring Richard Simmons cavorting with a contortionist. In fairness to Ana, she is not the only ruling-class retread to find a cushy landing spot.

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state’s $3 billion stem-cell agency, has failed to produce the life-saving cures and therapies its promoters promised voters in 2004. In 2009 Duane Roth, a businessman with a background in biotechnology, offered to serve CIRM as vice chairman for no salary. CIRM turned down that offer and brought in Art Torres, a lawyer and former state Democratic Party boss, and promptly tripled his salary to $225,000.

Covered California is carrying on a long tradition, and the dynamics should be clear. Regardless of performance, government continues to expand. Regardless of performance, ruling-class retreads get high-paying government jobs and contracts.

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January 2014