More than four months after its scheduled launch and despite receiving $305 million in federal grants and spending at least $160 million on the website, Cover Oregon has not enrolled anyone.
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) and other leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote a letter to the General Accountability Office, stating, “The catastrophic breakdown of Cover Oregon is unacceptable, and taxpayers deserve accountability.”
The letter notes that the Obamacare federal exchange, HealthCare.gov, and the various state exchanges “have encountered numerous problems.” Yet, according to Walden, Cover Oregon, the healthcare exchange for the state of Oregon, may have won the booby prize.
“Although the rollout of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been problematic nationwide, no state has had more complications than Oregon,” Walden and the other congressmen wrote. “Oregon’s state exchange website, Cover Oregon, has been such a technological failure that even now, months after the start of the open enrollment period, the site is unable to enroll anyone.”
It is likely the GAO probe will be granted, considering that GAO staff workers helped Congressman Walden craft the wording of the letter. According to a GAO spokesman, this is believed to be the first time legislators have asked for a federal investigation of an Obamacare exchange run by an individual state.
When CNBC asked Ariane Holm, a Cover Oregon spokeswoman, for an explanation of the website failure, she responded, “We are aware of this and have no further comment.”
On the other hand, Walden had plenty to say. “This is an embarrassment for the state to have a website like this that doesn’t function, he told The Bulletin, an Oregon newspaper. “It’s extraordinary mismanagement.”