Oregon Abolishes State Health Exchange
By Samantha Masunaga
A bill dissolving Cover Oregon, the state's dysfunctional health insurance exchange, has been signed by Gov. Kate Brown.
The measure, which had bipartisan support, transfers responsibilities for the Oregon exchange to the state Department of Consumer and Business Services.
The decision was announced in a nine-word tweet from Brown's account, which said simply: "This afternoon I signed Senate Bill 1 into law." She signed the legislation Friday.
Cover Oregon was plagued by problems almost from its onset. No Oregonian was ever able to enroll online in a private plan under the Affordable Care Act because the state exchange never had a functioning website, forcing insurance seekers to file paper applications.
In April, state officials voted unanimously to switch over to the federal health insurance exchange, HealthCare.gov., citing the high cost of trying to fix the problematic state marketplace. The Oregon exchange had cost the state $248 million.
Additional controversy erupted in August when Oracle Corp., which was hired to create the exchange, sued the state agency in charge. The company alleged a breach of contract and accused then-Gov. John Kitzhaber of attempting to "vilify the company in the media."
The state responded with a lawsuit of its own, accusing the Redwood City, Calif., company of lying to Oregon officials, failing to deliver on contracts and filing about $240 million in false claims.
The legal battle has not yet reached court.
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