Health

Oregon’s Obamacare Website Hasn’t Enrolled Anyone

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

While other state exchanges report progress in Obamacare enrollment, Oregon’s website “Cover Oregon” has not enrolled a single person since the healthcare roll out last month.

The board of Oregon’s health exchange sent a message to the head of Cover Oregon, executive director Rocky King, on Thursday demanding to know when the partially-functioning website will be fixed.

State officials blame the overly ambitious Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), who had hoped their exchanges would be a model for the rest of the country. Meanwhile, in neighboring Washington enrollment is third only to California and New York.

Oregon board members met in Northeast Portland to discuss King’s job performance as well as the work of its main technology contractor, Oracle.

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Board members say that the public needs a clear explanation as to how they will enroll before a Dec. 15 deadline in order to have coverage effective Jan. 1. The exchange is currently relying on paper applications that are slowly hand processed.

"The only way that we can hold Cover Oregon accountable is to hold Rocky accountable," said the board’s chairwoman Liz Baxter.

King says his staff is slowly making progress.

"What you don't see are the baby steps," he told The Oregonian.

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Oracle vice president Tom Budnar said he sent in a crack team of employees to help get the website fixed by the end of December.

King said the workers weren’t good enough.

“We've asked them to bring in the A-team members - and send the C-team members home,” he said.

The board also question King’s decision to accept an employee loaned to him by an unidentified insurer to help finalize the website. Board members say this could raise questions about a conflict of interest.

King responded that he needs another “set of eyes” to spot problems.

He will have to submit plans by Friday, Nov. 22, to fix the website.

The board will hold an executive session Dec. 2 on matter.

Sources: The Oregonian, Seattle Times