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Cover Oregon, Oregon’s healthcare exchange established to implement the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), was recently included in an enrollment study of the nation’s 14 state-based exchanges and, unsurprisingly, came in last place with zero enrollees.
“Not surprised” was the expression Cover Oregon executive director Rocky King used back in the beginning of October, when Cover Oregon botched their website launch. It was, and still is, impossible to sign up for insurance online as promised, and for the first week after launch it was temperamental to “browse plans” or even change pages on the website.
Cover Oregon spokeswoman Amy Fauver also released a statement shortly after launch, as reported by KGW, that the website and its services were expected to be working properly by the end of October. With October 31st come and gone, this was clearly not an accurate estimation. Cover Oregon recently spent another $3.8M to hire 400 new staffers and register applicants by hand, while still “working hard” to get the website up and running.
Cover Oregon is fully funded by the Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services dedicated to “Ensuring the Affordable Care Act Serves the American People.” The exchange received $226M in federal taxpayer-funded grant money from the CCIIO to establish their organization and it’s website and support it for the next year and a half. As part of Cover Oregon’s budget, $10M was spent on creating and promoting a series of music video advertisements.
(A response music video was subsequently produced by Oregon libertarians with a $40 budget and one week’s production time. See it here.)
After the controversy regarding taxpayer-funded music videos, Cover Oregon made the news again, realizing they miscalculated their budget, and need another $16M from the DHHS.
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber said recently that the website may still be broken by the turn of the year, a far cry from both the initially established launch date of October 1st and the recalculated “fixed-by” date of “the end of October.” With a statement as vague as “may still be broken by December 31st,” the Governor offered little reassurance to those hoping to register online. Kitzhaber encouraged them to fill out paper forms.
With the absence of any results and a huge financial burden on taxpayers paying for nothing more than music videos and empty promises, anger and discontentment with Cover Oregon and the Affordable Care Act are growing, and even former supporters are backing away from the failed healthcare bill.
Oregon Representative Kurt Schrader (D) recently stated that President Barack Obama misled the American public by stating that individuals will be able to remain on their healthcare plans, period. “I think the president was grossly misleading to the American public,” Schrader said in an interview with KGW.
Going forward, it remains to be seen whether legislators like Schrader will stand by their words and work to get rid of the Affordable Care Act. You can contact Rep. Schrader here to respectfully encourage him to stay true to his words and represent the public, standing against the Affordable Care Act in future votes. Election season is around the corner.
Whether Cover Oregon’s website will be operational by then, however, is a question that even Cover Oregon can’t seem to answer.
Tags: Affordable Care Act, Broken, Controversy, Cover Oregon, Enroll, Exchange, fail, Health, healthcare, Insurance, John Kitzhaber, Last, obama, ObamaCare, oregon, People, Place, Rank, Rocky King, Website, Zero
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