ObamaCare exchange delayed in Oregon

Cover Oregon

Highlighting the problems that many states are experiencing with ObamaCare implementation, Oregon has been forced to delay online enrollment for insurance coverage through its state exchange:

The online insurance exchange that Oregon established under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law will not allow residents to sign up for coverage on their own when enrollment begins nationwide on Oct. 1, state officials say.

The state is the first to say it won’t be open for all comers by that date, raising concerns that other states running their own “Obamacare” exchanges might also be struggling.
Instead of enrolling in health insurance online themselves, at least through mid-October Oregonians will need the help of an insurance broker or an aide trained by the state to log on, Cover Oregon spokeswoman Lisa Morawski said on Friday.

They also will need assistance to see what policies are available, and to determine which federal subsidies they might be eligible for.

The reason for the delay, according to the Wall Street Journal, is Oregon officials can “debug” the website for potential problems that customers may experience while trying to purchase coverage. That’s a significant concern with reports that the Obama Administration is month behind on data security testing for the exchange websites. Lax security could lead to instances of identity theft.

But problems with a website isn’t the only issue that Oregon is running into with the implementation of its insurance exchange, as Philip Klein notes, the state is also $16 million over-budget with its effort implement the law:

In addition to delays, the Oregonian reports that the implementation is already well over budget: “In addition to working out kinks, Cover Oregon is also dealing with a $16 million shortfall. The Oregon Health Authority, a sister agency, had expected to fund computer programming for Cover Oregon through June with a $59 million federal grant. But documents show the grant ran out in April, due to a ‘misprojection’ of remaining funds.”

It should be noted that Oregon is a liberal state that has been held up as an model by Obamacare supporters because its government is enthusiastically cooperating with the implementation of the law.

According to a Fox News poll released last week, 57% of registered voters called the implementation efforts of ObamaCare a “joke” while on 31% of believe it’s “going fine.” Sixty-three percent (63%) of voters says that the law needs to be changed and that Congress should continue working on legislative fixes for the law, up from 58% last month.

Implementation concerns aside, Oregon has already been an example of why greater access to health coverage won’t make Americans healthier, which is the entire premise of ObamaCare. The state expanded its Medicaid program in 2008 and recipients spent 35% more than those who didn’t receive access to the government-run program. But greater access to healthcare didn’t produce better outcomes for those on Medicaid than those who didn’t have coverage.

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