Legislative Committee Will Examine Cover Oregon Move to Federal Website

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Joint IT and audits committee will get answers on recent technology decisions. Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem/Gervais/Woodburn) and House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) announced that the Oregon Legislature’s Joint Committee on Legislative Audits, Information Management and Technology will hold a hearing to examine Cover Oregon’s decision to stop trying to fix its own website and instead connect to the federal technology. 

 
The committee will meet 10am -12pm May 6 to review Cover Oregon’s decision, get answers on the process for making the transition, and ensure that Oregon will be ready for the next open enrollment period in the fall.

 
The Cover Oregon website is still not fully functioning six months after its originally planned roll-out date. As a result, Oregonians seeking private health insurance through Cover Oregon have had to use a hybrid system that includes completing a paper application.

 
“This committee is best positioned to get the answers Oregonians deserve and push Cover Oregon to be prepared for upcoming milestones,” said Kotek. “Hundreds of thousands of Oregonians now have access to quality medical care thanks to Cover Oregon and the Affordable Care Act. We need to make sure Oregonians continue to have access to the health care they need.” 

“I want to make it clear that we expect more than a power point presentation. We expect more than promises,” Courtney said. “We want frank answers. We want to know the technology challenges Cover Oregon is facing and exactly how they plan to navigate through the minefield. We need to know how this move is going to get us out of this mess.”

 
Despite the website woes, more than 70,000 Oregonians have signed up for private insurance through Cover Oregon and another 172,000 people have signed up through the exchange for the Oregon Health Plan as part of the expansion of Medicaid. An additional 130,000 people were added to the Oregon Health Plan rolls through a separate process outside of the exchange.

 
House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) issued the following statement regarding Friday’s vote by the Cover Oregon Board to move to the federal exchange: “Today’s decision by Cover Oregon to move to the federal health exchange after months of false assurances is an incredibly embarrassing moment for the State of Oregon. This failure is the result of a complete lack of leadership.

“Early warning signs were ignored or sidestepped, as were legislative attempts to ask questions and find solutions. Moreover, this incompetence has left far too many Oregon families in limbo as they now face yet another hurdle while trying to enroll for coverage. Oregonians were sold false promises, and all we got was a faulty, unfinished product that has thus far wasted $250 million. 

“The attempts of Democratic leadership and their hand-picked Cover Oregon appointees to conceal the mismanagement, blunders and wasteful costs associated with Cover Oregon are inexcusable. This breach of trust with the people of Oregon is unacceptable and serves as further proof that our state needs competent, accountable leadership to get Oregon back on track.”

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