Oregon’s state healthcare exchange has yet to enroll a single person more than a month after it was supposed to be operational, according to the Associated Press.
Oregon’s online system still isn’t functioning correctly, and the state has hired or reassigned 400 people to process insurance applications by hand. The Associated Press reports:
The state has received about 18,000 paper applications, at 19 pages each, and is scrambling to manually file and clear them. State officials have not been able to say when they expect the online system to launch, nor have they established a deadline to submit paper applications in order for coverage to begin Jan. 1. Meanwhile, the exchange’s board is demanding answers from the executive director about when the website will work and how his team will get people enrolled on time.
Oregon has long prided itself on being a leader in health policy. Its Medicaid system has been a testing ground for new innovations since the early 1990s. The state started laying the groundwork for an insurance exchange a year before Congress passed the health care law that called for one in every state. Gov. John Kitzhaber, a former emergency room physician, is a respected voice on health reform.
The state also has a large population of young, underemployed progressives who might provide a burgeoning market for affordable coverage. Its ultra-competitive health care market led to lower-than-expected premiums. Lawmakers from both parties have embraced the law. And the Portland area is a thriving hub of technology companies known as the Silicon Forest.
In other words, Oregon had everything going for it.