GAO to audit Oregon’s failed ObamaCare exchange site

posted at 10:01 pm on March 11, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

The list of state ObamaCare exchange successes expands. Earlier today, word was the feds were looking into Maryland.

Also, Oregon is in even worse shape than Maryland, despite spending $300 million. THREE HUNDRED MILLION. The state had its chance to audit and apparently just pretended to. That staggering figure and correspondingly staggering failure has even the state’s ObamaCare-supporting senators asking for an investigation:

Congress’s investigative arm said Wednesday it will audit Oregon’s broken healthcare exchange site, which has yet to enroll even one person despite spending $304 million in federal funds.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a letter to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) it would look into how the funds were spent, and whether that money could be recovered from third-party contractors, among other things.

The GAO letter was in response to a request sent last month by Merkley and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), both of whom are ObamaCare supporters. The senators noted their frustration with their home-state’s exchange in their request for a GAO investigation.

Four Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, led by Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), sent a similar request to the agency last month.

“It is great news that the GAO has responded to our request to carefully examine what has gone wrong with the Cover Oregon website,” Merkley told The Hill in a statement. “I look forward to reading their recommendations about how to fix the system and avoid this happening in the future.”

The state has been relying on paper applications and gotten a fair number of them, but uh oh:

The Cover Oregon health insurance exchange is one of the worst in the country at attracting younger enrollees, according to a new federal report.

Only 18 percent of those who’ve enrolled through the Oregon exchange fall between the ages of 18-34, a healthier age bracket considered crucial to keeping future premiums down. The age-related data for Oregon is available for the first time.

The Oregon number, which ties with West Virginia as the nation’s worst, falls well below the national average of 25 percent. Exchange officials and insurers had expected a higher portion of enrollees would be young, and premiums were set accordingly.

Cover Oregon had gone out of its way to attract the young, spending millions on television and radio ads that featured Oregon musicians such as Laura Gibson and the hip hop band Lifesavas. A Washington Post reporter observed that the ads “seriously could have been pulled straight out of Portlandia.”

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Oregon’s broken healthcare exchange site, which has yet to enroll even one person despite spending $304 million in federal funds.

And I’m under bankruptcy.

Nice.

Lanceman on March 11, 2014 at 10:04 PM

Add up all the hundreds of millions wasted and stolen and simply “disappeared,” and all of the uninsured could have platinum plans. This is why I despise centralized government. It’s not a necessary evil. It’s not necessary, period.

John the Libertarian on March 11, 2014 at 10:05 PM

Fail Fail FAIL Biotch!!

Scrumpy on March 11, 2014 at 10:06 PM

…c r o o k s !

KOOLAID2 on March 11, 2014 at 10:06 PM

FREE SCHADENFREUDE!

Scrumpy on March 11, 2014 at 10:07 PM

OT:

I finally found time to get up to date on the story of Keith Vidal, the 18 yr old schizophrenic who was murdered by a cop in North Carolina back in January.

Here’s the story (from mid-Feb)

Indicted for voluntary manslaughter.

BobMbx on March 11, 2014 at 10:10 PM

GAO to audit Oregon’s failed ObamaCare exchange site

No matter how much is stolen — and it will be trillions of dollars and millions of lives when the entire fiasco is said and done — not a single individual will be prosecuted let alone lose their job …

[The only remaining vote I have regarding anything now as regards government is one of NO CONFIDENCE!]

ShainS on March 11, 2014 at 10:12 PM

FREE SCHADENFREUDE!

Scrumpy on March 11, 2014 at 10:07 PM

Please do.

[I'll even promise to stop commenting if you bring her back ... ;-)]

ShainS on March 11, 2014 at 10:13 PM

I grow weary of saying this but someone needs to go to jail,

neyney on March 11, 2014 at 10:14 PM

neyney on March 11, 2014 at 10:14 PM

Can we sue them to get our money back hmmmmm?

Jail all the bastages that lost taxpayer money on this pile ‘o’ shite…

Scrumpy on March 11, 2014 at 10:17 PM

F R E E
the
S H A D !
please
…went into moderation at 10:07 ….because I was posting too fast?
…and if I post it again…Duplicate post?

KOOLAID2 on March 11, 2014 at 10:18 PM

Not a smidgen of corruption.

Love,

GAO

BobMbx on March 11, 2014 at 10:18 PM

ShainS on March 11, 2014 at 10:13 PM

YOU keep commenting, you are well liked round here ShainS!

Scrumpy on March 11, 2014 at 10:19 PM

What????!!!!!

Obama can’t create a LAW that works?????

Say it isn’t so?????

Electrongod on March 11, 2014 at 10:21 PM

FREE SCHADENFREUDE!

Scrumpy on March 11, 2014 at 10:07 PM

Seriously. Make him write I will not do whatever he did 100 times or write an appropriate letter of apology to the affected party and let him back in. If Oregon can rip off the taxpayer to the tune of $304 million, with nothing to come of it (my prediction), maybe you could let the ban go after a relatively short period of time.

It was my understanding that the ban was due to a personal comment on a photo of a woman. I do get the impression that there are a lot more comments on the appearance of women than men on this site and maybe everyone could do a lot better focussing on substance rather than women’s appearance.

Back to the headline-Oregon did get a catchy Obamacare tune and video-but I don’t know if that was out of the $304 million or from other money.

talkingpoints on March 11, 2014 at 10:22 PM

FREE SCHADENFREUDE!

Scrumpy on March 11, 2014 at 10:07 PM

.
I’m very sorry, but that is one top-dollar commodity.

Ya gotta pay for it … we can’t give it away for “free”.

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 10:25 PM

All that money blown on a website that never worked.

And yet it kept passing FEDERAL “gate reviews,” which were required for Cover Oregon to receive a continual flow of FEDERAL funds as an “early innovator” state healthcare exchange.

To keep the money flowing, the website would have to hit specific benchmarks between 2011 and 2013. The state needed to show the feds it had picked a company to provide software and technical assistance; it had to demonstrate that the website was safe from hackers; and, most importantly, it had to show that people could actually sign up for insurance on the website.

The evidence these marks had been reached would be presented during a process called “gate reviews.”

You have to wonder what the FEDS were being shown, particularly by Carolyn Lawson, the IT “pro” brought in from California to oversee the project as Oregon Health Authority CIO. Lawson, of course, has long since left. In report after report to the state, she painted glowing pictures of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) awed reaction to the Cover Oregon website. All lies. All fraud.

But who should be in jail? Lawson? Oregon state officials? CMS officials?

Cover Oregon’s scandal may well go straight up into the Department of Health and Human Services, which both bungled Healthcare.gov and had every incentive to not notice problems building up in the state exchange sites.

Send in the GAO. Will this be an audit or a cover-up?

de rigueur on March 11, 2014 at 10:27 PM

talkingpoints on March 11, 2014 at 10:22 PM

…oh no!…there may be some ugly liberal women…but there are a whole lot of goofy looking guys!
…Mitch, Doughnut Senile, et al…who have no substance so we bring up their appearance also.

KOOLAID2 on March 11, 2014 at 10:27 PM

So, they’ll audit it, find out there was waste, fraud, and abuse, blame a person, and charge no one. Some people will make millions of dollars, all of them liberals, and everyone will be fat, dumb, and happy, except for the tax payers who funded it.

This is so typical of liberal policies it’s pathetic. If Republicans point it out the reply is that “everyone does it” and we have a plan to stop it, but they never do. The only way to STOP it is to eliminate the program.

bflat879 on March 11, 2014 at 10:36 PM

FREE SCHADENFREUDE!
Like the GAO will expose corruption in a Dem stronghold like Oregon…

Newtie and the Beauty on March 11, 2014 at 10:36 PM

FREE SCHADENFREUDE!
No one’s REALLY expecting anyone to be arrested, must less sent to prison, over this, right?

Newtie and the Beauty on March 11, 2014 at 10:40 PM

FREE SCHADENFREUDE!
Scrumpy on March 11, 2014 at 10:07 PM

While I like Shad, he apparently made an untoward comment regarding a female guest on Ed’s Show. Conservative women get enough nastiness from the left, so it’s hard for me to sympathize for Shad on this particular banning.

whatcat on March 11, 2014 at 10:44 PM

GAO to audit Oregon’s failed ObamaCare exchange site

Obviously it’s not working because of Republican obstructionism and sabotage…don’t need the fancy pants GAO to figure that one out!

/s

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 11, 2014 at 10:50 PM

I grow weary of saying this but someone needs to go to jail,

neyney on March 11, 2014 at 10:14 PM

Yeah I agree but Holder will never arrest him.

Oldnuke on March 11, 2014 at 10:55 PM

The U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a letter to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) it would look into how the funds were spent, and whether that money could be recovered from third-party contractors, among other things.

Jonathan Easley, thehill.com on March 06, 2014, at 11:02 AM

.
Should we seriously have faith that the GAO will follow through on what they said in the letter to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore) ?
.
Is the GAO all that “unbiased/neutral”?

Yeah, I’m cynical … but I’m not always right, either.

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 11:36 PM

Not a damn thing will happen.
The unbelievable part is that people are not up in arms. 304 million.
As an aside, a woman I know, and don’t particularly like, proudly displays on her resume that she was working on Cover Oregon.
Still chuckling.

ORconservative on March 11, 2014 at 11:51 PM

I am really surprised these ObamaCare website companies haven’t been indicted. The usual cry of socialists when their plans blow up is to blame it on implementation problems, proclaim the idea is still sound, and ask to try again. How many liberals spent the 80s and 90s claiming communism worked but the USSR did it wrong?

Outlander on March 11, 2014 at 11:53 PM

Pat attention to this investigation. Kitzhaber (a complete and total cull) is in his 3rd term as Gov., running for a 4th.

Kitzhaber (personally) and is pals were negligent in administration of the contract (just like obama) and even the Oregonian from progressive utopia Portland hammered the Gov. on this.

Regardless of what the GAO finds I predict the highly intelligent progressives (an oxymoron) from Eugene north to Portland will re-elect this clown to continue thoroughly fleecing the taxpayer in OR. Why, because he’s a democrat, literally no other reason.

Ahhhh… Life surrounded by idiots in a blue state.

old school on March 11, 2014 at 11:54 PM

As a resident of Eugene, I can hardly take umbrage at “old school’s” comments. The Democrats in the most recent legislative session blocked a Republican attempt to investigate the Cover Oregon fiasco.

Kitz will be re-elected because the Portland-Corvallis-Eugene-Ashland and north coast blues couldn’t see themselves voting for anyone else.

foxymike on March 12, 2014 at 12:34 AM

So let me update you on media bias on the “Slower Lower Eastern Shore” of MD.

I’ve been writing letters to the editor of our local daily (the only one within a 60 mile radius) for months concerning the condition of the MD Obamacare exchange and what our Lt. Gov. (Obama clone Anthony Brown who is running for governor) knew, and when he knew it. The paper has editorialized about Chris Christie’s problems in NJ and Bob McDonnell’s problems in VA, but refused to cover, either as news item or on the editorial page, this situation right here in MD.

The paper FINALLY printed my letter on Monday. So, I’m wondering why, after all this time, the editors decided to print something. Then I hear on our local talk radio that Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD01) has asked the GAO to investigate the MD exchange.

I guess the editors figured they’d look like idiots if they didn’t print something, since now it’s national news.

To top it off, the date for my letter has been changed on the paper’s on-line edition from March 10th to March 7th.

Hmmm.

Even on the very conservative Eastern Shore of Maryland the media is totally biased.

Turn MD Red on March 12, 2014 at 6:35 AM

And Governing magazine made Oregon’s governor one if its Public Officials of the Year.

Hat Trick on March 12, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Our incompetent Governor wants to be re elected. To obtain insurance people have to fill out a 19 page form. Wonder how many of Portland’s homeless took the time to fill out those forms? This is what you get with Democrats running this state.

regmgr on March 12, 2014 at 10:14 AM

GAO : (waves hand) These are not the hundreds of million of taxpayer dollars you are looking for

GKChesterton99 on March 12, 2014 at 11:53 AM