First in a series? Oregon’s insurance exchange succumbs to federal takeover

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President Obama stated that the debate over Obamacare is through and it’s working — well, except for Oregon. According to the Washington Post, “The Obama administration is poised to take over Oregon’s broken health insurance exchange, according to officials familiar with the decision who say that it reflects federal officials’ conclusion that several state-run marketplaces may be too dysfunctional to fix.” Gee, that’s not exactly a glowing report just as the enrollment period has ended.

In public, the board overseeing Cover Oregon is scheduled to vote Friday whether to join the federal insurance marketplace that sells health plans in most of the country under the Affordable Care Act. Behind the scenes, the officials say, federal and Oregon officials already have agreed that closing down the state marketplace is the best path to rescue what has been the country’s only one to fail so spectacularly that no resident has been able to sign up for coverage online since it opened early last fall.

We know of the issues in other “blue states” with running a state exchange — will this action count as a “healthcare exchange bailout?”

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According to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about discussions that have not been made public, leaders of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency overseeing the insurance marketplaces, advised Oregon officials that they did not believe the state had the ability to repair its own exchange — a sure sign of incompetence. And this is just the beginning! We’re now embarking on the implementation phase, so the debate is hardly over.

The Washington Post says the collapse of Oregon’s insurance marketplace comes as federal health officials are focusing intensely on faltering exchanges in two other states, Maryland and Massachusetts. This month, the board of the Maryland Health Connection became the first in the nation to decide to replace most of its exchange with different technology. But Maryland did not obtain required federal approval before its vote. Federal officials remain uncertain whether the state exchange has the capacity to correct its problems and have not indicated whether they will give Maryland the $40 million to $50 million it says it needs to make the switch.

Anyone want to bet the money won’t be granted?

Massachusetts was in the vanguard of insurance exchanges, opening its own years before the 2010 federal health-care law. But the commonwealth’s insurance marketplace developed severe technical problems as it tried to make adjustments to interact with the federal system. As recently reported, success for the state exchange in California may have a little to do with “bounty” payments made for signups. But as I keep asking, what exactly does a signup mean?

Well America, when Obamacare is all said and done, we’re looking at 159 new government agencies and bureaucracies, as well as 20 new taxes. I expect we’ll be quietly hearing more stories of faults, failures, and shortcomings. Unfortunately, government incompetence in the area of healthcare results in death — as we are witnessing with the Veterans Administration scandal.

No Mr. President, it ain’t workin.’
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