NPR: Oregon’s exchange might actually be doing worse than the federal site
posted at 12:41 pm on November 5, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
Evidently, the competition for the top spot of Most Bungled ObamaCare Rollout among the program’s avid admirers is actually pretty stiff. I’d say that the federal government’s marketplace takes the title, seeing as how the website’s prohibitive glitches mean that the residents of 34 states are now left hanging, but even ObamaCare enthusiasts on a smaller bureaucratic scale just can’t seem to get it together.
As I mentioned last night, relatively tiny and wildly progressive Vermont has had such a hard time with enrollment that their governor has decided to allow people to extend their current coverage plans three months past their December 31st expiration deadline to March 31st; and in similarly rhapsodic Oregon over on the west coast, the malfunctioning exchange website has entirely reduced the state to sifting through paper applications. They still have yet to enroll even a single Oregonian, NPR reports:
When Cover Oregon opened Oct. 1, executive director Rocky King was excited. He’d been preparing for years. “Day one, we are accepting applications. And staff at the Oregon Health Authority and Cover Oregon are ready to process those applications,” he said on opening day.
Back then, King conceded there were still glitches with the website, but he said that by mid-to-late October they’d be worked out. Now it’s November, and it’s clear that a quick fix is not in the cards. So Cover Oregon has turned to old-fashioned paper applications. People can either download one off the website, or have somebody walk them through it. …
The paper application is 20 pages long and asks for everything from names and the number of people in your household to pension contributions and alimony payments.
That means Cover Oregon staff will comb through documents to determine if the person is eligible for a tax credit or for Medicaid. The sporadic functionality of the federal government’s HealthCare.gov website means this eligibility check is a problem.
Cover Oregon is estimating their site will be fully operational by the end of November, but they have a stack of at least 7,300 paper applications piling up through which they need to hurry and sort through manually within a maximum 45-day period to start adding people to their rolls.
Like I said, the competition for the most defective rollout is fierce.