Oregon's Obamacare exchange was going to the the model for the nation and it is. It is a cesspool of waste fraud and corruption.
Former Democrat Gov. John Kitzhaber was touted by the liberal media as "the man who could save health care" in America. The former doctor turned politician grab ahold of Obamacare and the opportunity to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to create Cover Oregon, the state's Obamacare exchange. $200 million went into building the exchange and more taxpayer money was spent on advertising that looked like Woodstock was coming to town. When they when to turn on the exchange, they ran into the same difficulties as the federal exchange. It wouldn't work.
Kitzhaber had been warned by contractors who were working on the exchange that they needed more time but ignored their pleas. As the weeks went on, the failure became a political embarrassment and Kitzhaber tasked his political advisor, Patricia McCaig who called herself the "Princess of Darkness" to oversee all decisions regarding the state's exchange. When the pressure was too much politically, she pulled the plug on the project. $300 million was wasted but ultimately the decision served its purpose. Kitzhaber was re-elected.
Since that time, Kitzhaber has been under federal investigation on a host of potential crimes, including giving government contracts to the former first lady of the state. He remains in legal jeopardy.
But for the taxpayers, the waste of taxpayer dollars continues. Dean Chambers, writing on Red State, notes:
A recent federal audit found that Oregon might have saved more than $10 million in the Medicaid-funded Oregon Health Plan that served low-income citizens in the state. The Oregon Health Plan gave health care organizations broad leeway in the spending of billions, leading to money inefficiently spent. The state of Oregon is seeking to recover $50 million allegedly overspent by a group called FamilyCare.
“The new federal audit tackles a new, little-noticed aspect of the state’s Medicaid reforms…Specifically, it looks at how Oregon went a different direction from the larger federal reforms called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. While the federal reforms tacked Medicaid as well as private health insurers, Oregon’s reforms only looked at Medicaid,” the Portland Tribue reported about the federal audit.
In making this exception, it allowed what were called coordinated care organizations (CCOs) broad leeway, not allowed under Medicaid, over the spending of money that lead to the lack of savings discovered by the federal audit.
“The audit highlights one of the many political compromises that went into crafting the reforms. Former Gov. Kitzhaber and the Oregon Legislature didn’t require the coordinated care organizations to meet the same spending standards that private insurance companies must meet,” the Portland Tribue reported.
As a result of the rules created by Kitzhaber and his political cronies, the CCOs were not required to limit their administrative costs to 15 percent as were the private insurance companies providing health care coverage in Oregon. The audit found that 11 of the 16 CCOs in Oregon exceeded the 15 percent limit on administration costs. As a result, they over-spent by about $10 million.
When Kitzhaber attempted to make Oregon a model of Obamacare, he succeeded but not in the way he envisioned.