We've told you before about the burgeoning political scandal in Oregon surrounding the state's failed ObamaCare insurance exchange, Cover Oregon. Today in U.S. News & World Report, contributing editor Peter Roff sums up the latest developments:
The politicians back in Oregon, at least one of whom has lost his job in part over the "Cover Oregon" scandal, have tried all along to blame the companies and contractors they hired to build the website. The official term of art for that is "buck passing." The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has been investigating what went wrong and, in a report just issued, has concluded – no surprise – it was the politicians playing politics who are to blame.
Here, in brief, is what the committee found:
- State law clearly established Cover Oregon as an independent entity. The governor and his political advisers' involvement in Cover Oregon was inconsistent with Oregon law.
- Campaign funds were used to assist the governor in his official capacity while handling Cover Oregon.
- Cover Oregon became closely tied with all campaign activities, from polling to meetings.
- The governor's political operatives – none had technological experience – micromanaged many of the decisions that needed to be made regarding Cover Oregon.
- Junking Cover Oregon and moving to HealthCare.gov was viewed as a way to "let the steam out of so much of the attacks."
- The Cover Oregon board was told the cost of moving to HealthCare.gov was $4-6 million. A slide showing moving the Medicaid system would cost $36 million was deleted.
- After the governor complained about the "free independent expenditure campaign" his political opponent was receiving because of Cover Oregon, his political advisers drafted letters asking the attorney general to sue. The letter was sent days later.
- In sum, the committee says, "Cover Oregon failed for two main reasons: The state acted as their own system integrator (like HeathCare.gov), and the state tried to revamp its entire health care system, not just build an exchange."
My IWV colleague Hadley Heath Manning discusses the Cover Oregon scandal in the most recent Health Care Minute from the Bridge to Better project:
This is a stunning amount of malfeasance, even for what we have come to expect from ObamaCare. We'll continue following this story and keep you updated.
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