Local health exec takes lumps from comedian
Alex Lange benefited from and eventually will live down the fat-baby story that has so far surrounded his young existence.
So, too, will Steve ErkenBrack. It might take longer, though, for the fat-baby furor to melt away.
Alex this year tested the limits of Rocky Mountain Health Plans’ coverage when the 4-month-old boy tipped the scales at the 99th percentile for his height and weight, making him uninsurable because of a pre-existing condition of obesity.
Rocky Mountain Health Plans reversed its finding within a week, but the story made national news and made its way eventually to Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report.”
Host Stephen Colbert routinely roasts corporations and conservatives on the show, and he took issue Oct. 25 with nonprofit Rocky Mountain Health Plans’ denial of coverage for Alex. Colbert’s advice was to moms-to-be:
“Your baby will never be denied health coverage for being too fat or too skinny if you mate with an insurance company CEO.”
An insurance company CEO such as Steve ErkenBrack, whose mug shot was helpfully broadcast next to Colbert.
ErkenBrack on Wednesday was resigned to the extended life of his notoriety.
His children all modified their Facebook pages to note that they are “Colbert-approved,” he said.
Alex’s dad, Bernie, who hosts the KKCO-TV morning show, said he could empathize with ErkenBrack.
Jon Stewart of Comedy Central’s “Daily Show,” which previously took on the issue, suggested that Alex’s story might not have made broadcast news had his father not been in the business.
“If only all our children could be sired by anchors,” Lange remembered Stewart lamenting. “It was a good bit.”
But, like Colbert, off the mark, Lange said.
“The message was misdirected,” he said. “Steve (ErkenBrack) and Rocky Mountain Health Plans were not at fault for using guidelines underwritten” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “I don’t think Rocky Mountain was at fault for the flaw that was in that policy. It’s probably unfair to generalize Steve in the light. At the same time, it’s comedy.”