Oregon leaders to vote on scrapping health insurance exchange

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from The LA Times,

The state would switch to the federal system after its ambitious, troubled site failed to enroll anyone in a private health insurance plan.

Oregon officials will vote Friday on whether to become the first state to scrap its troubled insurance exchange and switch to the federal system, after spending an estimated $248 million on an ambitious exchange that failed in spectacular fashion.

Not a single insurance seeker was able to enroll online in a private plan under the Affordable Care Act in this high-tech state, which has long prided itself on healthcare innovation and whose governor is a former emergency room doctor. Cover Oregon instead was forced to resort to paper applications.

The state has dismissed Oracle, its main technology vendor, and Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber has asked the state’s attorney general to investigate its legal options.

At a Thursday meeting, Cover Oregon’s technology advisory committee recommended that the agency scrap its local exchange because there is neither the time nor the money to fix it.

“I think their recommendation to use the federal website technology is the right call,” Kitzhaber said in a statement afterward. “It is the most reliable and least costly way to ensure that we have a working website for the next enrollment period” this fall.


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