Today, Gov. John Kitzhaber held a news conference in Portland in which he noted that the state has hired an undisclosed firm, which will be conducting an independent review regarding the ongoing failures of Oregon’s state health insurance exchange, Cover Oregon.
After three months, Cover Oregon’s online enrollment system has yet to launch. Paper applications were then made available, which have compromised applicant’s identities in some cases. Furthermore, not everyone who has enrolled has received confirmation of coverage at this time.
Gov. Kitzhaber tried to emphasize that 170,000 people have health coverage this month and claimed Oregon’s uninsured population will be reduced by 20 percent. He did not specify how these figures were developed, but he did acknowledge that he is unsure of when the online enrollment system will be accessible for Oregonians. In fact, only about a third of those applying went through Cover Oregon as the rest opted to bypass the exchange altogether.
The Governor also has not addressed what the expense of Cover Oregon’s failures has cost taxpayers since the failed roll out. Certainly an additional expense accrued with the initiation of paper applications, the hiring of extra personnel and costs in continuing to throw money at a failed website and equally failed policy.