FBI Investigating Oregon Obamacare Exchange
1:15 PM, May 5, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
On January 1, the director of Cover Oregon resigned after having been on "medical leave" since January. Then in March, the interim director resigned. The practice has become a regular occurence for top officials at the exchange, even as the site's initial problems subsided and federal extensions of the enrollment deadline meant Oregonians could start enrolling. Meanwhile, Oregon's Democratic governor, John Kitzhaber, took to avoiding the media as local outlets pressed him on the failures of the exchange.
All this, despite (or perhaps because of) Oregon's perceived advantage on health-insurance reform. As Mark Hemingway wrote in February, Oregon has long been thought of as the progressive laboratory of democracy on health care, though the results of pre-Obamacare have been disastrous. Here's an excerpt:
The Cover Oregon disaster isn't just bringing on an FBI investigation--it may be hurting Oregon Democrats in the upcoming elections. Kitzhaber was elected to a third (non-consecutive) term in 2010, and the state's Democratic leanings mean he's unlikely to lose his bid for a fourth. But one poll last week showed Kitzhaber tied at 40 percent with a GOP challenger. The same poll found incumbent Democratic senator Jeff Merkley actually trailing Republican Monica Wehby by one point. And a plurality of 46 percent of voters said Cover Oregon and the Obamacare exchange have been failures.
Merkley, who voted for Obamacare in 2010 and promised plenty of benefits to the plan at the time, has been polling weakly for reelection all year. In response to Cover Oregon's problems, Merkley laid the blame at the feet of Oracle, the contractor who built the exchange's website.
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