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Cover Oregon’s Problems Get Even Worse

- May 5, 2014

The Wall Street Journal: “FBI Scrutinizing Health Law Implementation Flaws in Oregon.” (Damian Paletta and Devlin Barrett, “FBI Scrutinizing Health Law Implementation Flaws in Oregon,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/4/14)

The FBI Is Looking Into Oregon’s Failed ObamaCare Exchange Website. “The Federal Bureau of Investigation has opened at least a preliminary inquiry into Cover Oregon, part of what could eventually be an alphabet soup of federal agencies delving into the high-profile failure of Oregon's health insurance exchange.” (Nick Budnick, “FBI, Inspector General Investigators Probing Cover Oregon Health Insurance Exchange Debacle,” The Oregonian, 5/2/14)

  • According To Documents, Oregon Officials May Have Misled The Federal Government On Cover Oregon’s Progress By Giving Positive Progress Reports. “Documents show Oregon may have presented a misleading picture to the federal government. On May 9, 2012, Legislative IT oversight analyst Bob Cummings wrote to the leaders of the Cover Oregon project, mentioning that he and Ying Kwong, an oversight analyst for the state Department of Administrative Services, shared the same concerns about the health insurance exchange. ‘Ying and I are very concerned about the overly positive reports that are coming out that are not consistent with what we are seeing related to project progress,’ Cummings wrote.  ‘The overly positive presentation provided to the feds early this week ... provided a skewed (or at least incomplete) picture of where we're actually at given what Ying and I have seen over the past couple of months,’ Cummings wrote. ‘I recognize the need to be positive with the feds, but I saw major disconnects from what was stated and where we're at.  In addition, I was concerned about the statement that (the exchange) ‘has completed its last hurdle with the Legislature.’  This simply is not true.’” (Nick Budnick, “FBI, Inspector General Investigators Probing Cover Oregon Health Insurance Exchange Debacle,” The Oregonian, 5/2/14)

The FBI Isn’t The Only Law Enforcement Agency Looking Into Cover Oregon

“Multiple Congressional And Government Probes … Are Already Under Way.” “Multiple congressional and government probes into what went wrong in Oregon are already under way, and it hasn't been determined whether the failed effort was a result of incompetence or if taxpayer money was abused and mishandled.” (Damian Paletta and Devlin Barrett, “FBI Scrutinizing Health Law Implementation Flaws in Oregon,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/4/14)

After Receiving An Anonymous Letter, The Health And Human Services Law Enforcement Division Is Also Looking Into Cover Oregon. Another federal office that has expressed interest in the Cover Oregon debacle is the Health and Human Services’ inspector general. It employs auditors as well as a law enforcement arm, that uses special agents to focus on alleged fraud and similar investigations. In March, a Portland-based special agent for the inspector general opened an inquiry into an anonymous letter sent by state employees to lawmakers, The Oregonian has confirmed.” (Nick Budnick, “FBI, Inspector General Investigators Probing Cover Oregon Health Insurance Exchange Debacle,” The Oregonian, 5/2/14)

The Letter Detailed Cover Oregon Problems That Had Granted Full Oregon Health Plan Benefits To Ineligible Applicants. “The anonymous letter alleged that the state's effort to deal with Cover Oregon problems had compromised the integrity of the Oregon Health Plan, including that ineligible applicants, such as undocumented immigrants, had inadvertently been granted full OHP benefits.” (Nick Budnick, “FBI, Inspector General Investigators Probing Cover Oregon Health Insurance Exchange Debacle,” The Oregonian, 5/2/14)

  • “The Letter Also Claimed State Officials Ordered False Information To Be Systematically Entered Into The State's Medicaid Information System In Order To Start Benefits.” (Nick Budnick, “FBI, Inspector General Investigators Probing Cover Oregon Health Insurance Exchange Debacle,” The Oregonian, 5/2/14)

Cover Oregon Officials Recently Decided To Scrap Its Exchange And Switch To The Federal Exchange. “Cover Oregon, the health exchange created under the Affordable Care Act, has faced major problems for months, and officials last month agreed to scrap their planned state-run exchange that was meant to connect residents with private insurance options.” (Damian Paletta and Devlin Barrett, “FBI Scrutinizing Health Law Implementation Flaws in Oregon,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/4/14)

OREGON’S 2014 DEMOCRATS SHOULD BE CONCERNED: THEY REPEATEDLY TOUTED COVER OREGON AS A NATIONAL MODEL

Gov. John Kitzhaber Called Cover Oregon “The First Step” Toward “Transforming Health Care” In Oregon And Across The U.S.

Gov. John Kitzhaber, On The Creation Of Oregon’s Health Exchange: “It’s Very, Very Important For The State Of Oregon To Design, Implement And Operate A Health Insurance Exchange, Rather Than Default To The Federal Government.” KITZHABER: “I just want to say that we’ve all felt from the beginning that it’s very, very important for the state of Oregon to design, implement and operate a health insurance exchange, rather than default to the federal government.” (Gov. John Kitzhaber, Remarks, 3/8/12)

  • Kitzhaber Called The Creation Of The Oregon Health Exchange “The First Step Toward Really Transforming Health Care Here In Oregon And Hopefully In The United States Of America.” KITZHABER: “So this is such a great day for Oregon. I’m not sure I would have believed two years ago that we would be standing here, all together, with these two bills that passed with huge bipartisan votes. And I think is the first step toward really transforming health care here in Oregon and hopefully in the United States of America.” (Gov. John Kitzhaber, Remarks, 3/8/12)
     
  • Kitzhaber: “The Health Insurance Exchange Is A Key Part Of Health Reform In Oregon.” “‘The Health Insurance Exchange is a key part of health reform in Oregon,’ said Governor Kitzhaber. ‘Not only will the Exchange provide Oregonians with the ability to compare plans apples to apples, it will set standards for plans that focus on improving health and quality and lowering costs.’” (Gov. John Kitzhaber, “Governor Kitzhaber Signs Bill To Create New Health Insurance Marketplace,” Press Release, 3/9/12)

On The Day Of Cover Oregon’s Launch, Governor Kitzhaber Said It Was “A Big Day For Our State And The Nation.” “As Cover Oregon opens its doors today, we are well down the road to improving the health of Oregonians, improving the quality of care they receive, and reducing costs. Cover Oregon offers consumers and small businesses more choice, competition, value, and transparency when they shop for health coverage and will help many Oregonians access insurance who have never had coverage before. This is a big day for our state and the nation, and a new era for delivering high-quality health care to Oregonians.” (Governor Kitzhaber’s Statement On The Launch Of Cover Oregon, 10/1/13)

Sen. Jeff Merkley Claimed Cover Oregon Would Be A “Template For Other States To Follow”

In 2011, Sen. Jeff Merkley Claimed That Once Cover Oregon Was Completed It Would “Provide A Template For Other States To Follow.” “‘Oregon has a reputation for innovation in health care. This grant is a vote of confidence in our state's leadership in developing the health information technology backbone needed to operate the exchange,’ Merkley said. ‘When completed, the exchange will help Oregonians compare private health insurance plans and enroll in the plan that best fits their situation as well as provide a template for other states to follow.’” (Sen. Jeff Merkley, “Merkley, Wyden Announce $48 Million To Help Oregonians Purchase Health Insurance Through Online Exchange,” Press Release, 2/17/11)

Merkley Was The Deciding Vote For ObamaCare In The Senate. (H.R. 3590, Roll Call Vote #396, Adopted 60-39: R 0-39; D 60-0, 12/24/09, Merkley Voted Yea)


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