Dear Editor,

I was planning to stay on the sidelines for the Republican primary. However, I recently noticed on the governor’s website that he was, “Pushing back against federal overreach: Put Utah first and protect our state from the federal government.”

This is just not true.

As a founder and former CEO of Arches Health Plan, I watched Gov. Gary Herbert and his insurance commissioner, Todd Kiser, roll over for the federal government. It was a Democratic administration that wanted Arches closed because they had been embarrassed by other co-ops that were not viable like Arches. These Democratic political operatives manipulated Kiser, who shut down Arches, despite a warning call from Luz Escamilla, a state senator who heard a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services official say the administration wanted to close the co-ops because they had been “a black-eye.”

Seeing that Kiser had become a tool of the Democratic administration, we called Herbert’s chief of staff, Justin Harding, to make sure his boss was aware. Harding simply said it was a regulatory issue, but that the governor was fully aware of the situation. With awareness comes responsibility. As a result of this rollover, 20 of Utah’s 29 counties now only have one health insurer to choose from in the individual marketplace. Additionally, Utah’s hospitals and doctors are now owed over $30 million.

It didn’t have to be this way. Arches had a plan to shore up its balance sheet, but they didn’t allow it a chance. This is how Gary Herbert has protected our state.