One thing nobody’s forgotten is the Cover Oregon mess, which has shown state government at its worst. Lax oversight, ignored warnings, squandered millions, an apparently oblivious governor, all in blind pursuit of an ideological goal: It’s all there. Implementing and maintaining a low-carbon fuel standard is a very different endeavor than building an online insurance exchange, but both tasks are complicated and both involve a big “trust me” factor. Oregonians trusted state officials to oversee the expenditure of public funds on the development of Cover Oregon, and they failed spectacularly. Gov. Kitzhaber and like-minded lawmakers now want Oregonians to trust the state to administer a complicated anti-global warming program that will affect them every time they fill up their tanks.Good editorial! The only thing that could be added is questioning the 220,000 figure. If there are that many newly covered (a questionable assertion), it wasn't because of Cover Oregon.
It’s almost as if lawmakers – some of them, anyway – are unaware of the yawning credibility pit the Cover Oregon mess has opened in Salem. When we asked SB 1570’s sponsor, Sen. Lee Beyer, why taxpayers, given recent events, should trust the state to take up another complex task, he said, “I don’t buy your premise. … You in the media have focused on the Web site. What the Legislature was trying to do was get half a million people covered. We’re at about 220,000 right now. I would suggest to you that we’ve achieved that goal.” The Springfield Democrat did acknowledge that Cover Oregon has had some technical problems, but his implication that news organizations have blown Cover Oregon’s flaws out of proportion doesn’t encourage confidence. And it wouldn’t even if the low-carbon fuel standard were a good idea.
Maybe the Oregonian should have asked Sen. Beyer why Cover Oregon is considering cutting 25% of its budget because of extremely weak enrollment. But no one at the Oregonian confronted Beyer with that.
Cover Oregon receives a fee of about $9 per enrollment to pay for its expenditures.
To date, [Cover Oregon’s acting director Bruce] Goldberg said, 65,932 people have enrolled in health insurance through the marketplace. About 23,800 of those are enrolled in commercial health plans. There are almost 30,000 people who have been approved to select their plan but have chosen not to move on in the process, Goldberg said.