Three weeks after launch, Oregon’s online health insurance exchange Cover Oregon hasn’t enrolled a single person. $82 million has been spent on a website which has received more than 430,000 visits and 3.7 million page views, and yet still cannot process applications.
According to Shelby Sebens of Northwest Watchdog, Cover Oregon spokesperson Ariane Holm “said she anticipates Cover Oregon’s website will be fully functional by the end of October. She also said residents can download an application and mail it back in or file it electronically. Or they can call Cover Oregon to start the application process.”
The Oregonian has reported on numerous reasons for the delays, including last-minute federal rulemaking that set back Oregon’s website programming. Oregon hasn’t been alone with these problems: HealthCare.gov, the national website for the Affordable Care Act, cost more than $400 million dollars and has been experiencing well-publicized, thorough dysfunction since October 1.
One would think functioning websites wouldn’t be too much to ask for the official ObamaCare rollout, the date of which was the focus of both national and statewide awareness campaigns. October’s online chaos seems to bode ill for the future of Americans’ health care experiences. Hopefully, people will rethink having increased centralized government control over a health care system which comprises nearly one-fifth of the U.S. economy.
Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.