"PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon, once expected to be a national leader in the federal health care overhaul, on Thursday moved to become the first state to dump its troubled online health exchange and use the federal marketplace instead.
A top Cover Oregon official, Alex Pettit, said fixing the existing system would be too costly at an estimated $78 million, would take too long to implement, and would be too risky. The state's site still isn't fully functional seven months after a failed launch.
Pettit said switching to the federal system would cost $4 million to $6 million."
“Oregon's exchange is seen as the worst of the more than a dozen states that developed their own online health insurance marketplaces. The state is the only one where the general public still can't use the website to sign up for coverage in one sitting — despite an early start building the site and millions of dollars from the federal government.
Several other states experienced major problems with their exchanges, but so far only one has chosen to replace its site. Maryland recently decided to spend $40 million to $50 million to adopt the technology used on Connecticut's successful exchange.
Oregon has received a total of $305 million in federal grants to fund its operations from 2011 through the end of this year. As of March, the state has spent nearly $248 million of that money, Cover Oregon interim executive director Clyde Hamstreet said.
Most of that money went toward the botched portal: $134 million in federal funding was paid to Oracle Corp. for building the exchange, and an additional $7 million was spent on paper processing efforts. Currently, Oregonians must use a time-consuming, hybrid paper-online process to sign up for insurance.
Oregon received a monthlong enrollment extension because of the technology problems.”
“Pettit, Cover Oregon's interim chief information officer, said Thursday that Oregon won't have to return the money, because it's a government grant and the state can decide how to use it. Pettit also said the costs of switching to the federal exchange would be eligible for a 90-10 federal match, meaning the federal government would pay $9 for every $1 Oregon contributes.”
"Because HealthCare.Gov enrolls people only in private health plans, Oregonians found eligible for Medicaid will be redirected to the Oregon Health Authority, a state agency that can enroll them in the Oregon Health Plan, Oregon's version of Medicaid."
“So far, about 240,000 Oregonians have enrolled in coverage through Cover Oregon. More than 69,000 of those enrolled in private health plans, while 171,000 enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan.” - Cover Oregon Health Exchange Website to Shut Down, breitbart.com, 04/24/2014
Link to the entire article appears below:
Update: Oregon may be the White House’s favorite health exchange, washingtonpost.com, 05/20/2013
Update II: GOP: Oregon Taxpayers 'Stuck' With Bill From Failed Obamacare Website, newsmax.com, 04/25/2014