Oregon's Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber cancelled an interview at the last minute with local ABC affiliate KATU that would have delved into the failure of the Cover Oregon Obamacare website, the station reports.
Reporter Hillary Lake went to Salem, Ore., to interview Kitzhaber, in part to ask about why he didn't step in to stop the site's failures and who should be held accountable. KATU reported Kitzhaber received numerous warnings about problems with the website more than a year before he said he did. He had told the station earlier in January that he didn't know about its glitches until late October.
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After weeks of requests, Lake received a confirmation email in December for an agreed-to interview Jan. 31. However, the night before the scheduled interview, a spokeswoman for Kitzhaber called KATU and said there had been a mistake, and no interview was on the governor's schedule.
Nevertheless, Lake went to Salem to try and track him down and ask, among other questions, why he ignored dozens of quality assurance reports that "raised red flags about the project." She was unsuccessful.
The Bulletin, a newspaper serving central Oregon, reports on Kitzhaber's defense of Cover Oregon:
Kitzhaber was grilled on why he didn’t know about the troubles long before the scheduled launch of the Cover Oregon website.
Throughout the process, Kitzhaber said, he was reassured the website would be ready. He knew there were problems but was told they were being resolved. There was a "disconnect," he said, coupled with poor decisions, bad communication and likely management issues. But until an ongoing independent investigation is complete, he said, he would not know for sure what exactly went wrong.
"I’m accountable for it," Kitzhaber said. "It happened on my watch."