Conger: $200M wasted, time to shut Cover Oregon down

Rep. Jason Conger

Rep. Jason Conger

Jason Conger for U.S. Senate

Cover Oregon Has Spent $200 Million, Rep. Jason Conger Says it Should be Shutdown

PORTLAND, ORE – Rep. Jason Conger (R-Bend) renewed his call to shut down Cover Oregon in light of new information showing that $200 million has been spent out of roughly $300 million in federal grant money the state received to build its health insurance exchange.

“Cover Oregon is a train wreck, and the more we learn the worse it gets,” Conger said. “We now know that $200 million has been spent – and the website still doesn’t work.“

It has been unclear how much money has been spent on Oregon’s online exchange. Yesterday Cover Oregon’s acting director, Dr. Bruce Goldberg, confirmed that federal grants totaled $300 million and that Cover Oregon and the Oregon Health Authority had spent an aggregate of $200 million in an e-mail response to written questions submitted by Rep. Jason Conger.

“It is time to shut Cover Oregon down and look at other options,” Conger said. “Thousands of Oregonians who have lost their health plans will have to pay the Obamacare tax because they did not purchase health insurance from the exchange.  But the exchange doesn’t work.”

“After all the delays and broken promises, I have lost faith in Cover Oregon.  Even if the website is salvaged, it looks increasingly likely that the Cover Oregon business model will never be self-sustaining,” Conger added. “It would be foolish to waste more taxpayer money on a failed system that will never work as promised.  It is time to look at affordable, reliable alternatives that will actually allow Oregonians to purchase health insurance.”

Last week, Rep. Conger also sent a letter to Gov. John Kitzhaber urging him to shutdown Cover Oregon and seek a federal waiver that would allow individuals to bypass the exchange and qualify for federal tax subsidies by purchasing health insurance from private carriers. The Governor has not yet responded.

The details of funds received and spent from Dr. Goldberg’s email appear below.

Total grants awarded to State of Oregon from Sept 30, 2010 through Dec 31, 2014:
OHA:  $60,917,212
Cover Oregon:  $244,289,375
TOTAL REVENUES:  $305,206,587

Actual expenditures/drawdowns through Dec 31, 2013:
OHA:  $60,917,212 (assume 100%)
Cover Oregon:  $109,407,968
Costs incurred to date but not paid (includes IT costs incurred but not yet paid):
Cover Oregon:  $28,874,508 (excludes unbilled costs)

BALANCE:  $106,006,899

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Posted by at 11:37 | Posted in 2014 Election, Health Care Reform, Obamacare, U.S. Senate | 57 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • oregongrown

    It’s much worse than I thought. i had heard a figure of $90 million but it’s more than twice that amount! It’s $200 million AND COUNTING!

    This is just another debacle that needs to be laid at Kitzhaber’s feet. It’s obscene that this project could be so out of control and yet the head guy is MUTE. Where are the tough questions for Gov Kitzhaber? How much is it costing us ON TOP OF THE WEBSITE to hire 400 temps to process applications? And how secure is our information?

    This shows the caliber of people we have leading this state and it’s way past time someone should be embarrassed by the absolute dereliction of duty shown by Kitzhaber and his gang of incompetents

    Kitzhaber was in another state on October 1st, 2013, giving a PAID speech touting how great Cover Oregon is, and how Oregon is leading the way. The way to where? Bankruptcy?

    I can’t believe anyone would actually vote for Kitzhaber for a 4th term. That is incomprehensible to me.

  • Bob Clark

    Wasn’t the Oregon legislature and governor banking on saving $2 billion in health care costs by Oregon’s Affordable Care Act, Health care reform? So, much so, it was assumed in the upcoming state government budget these savings would materialize to balance the budget. The federal government is planning to remove some of the state subsidies for the ACA in the next two years if I remember correctly. The Oregon Health Authority is boasting about the surge in Medicaid patients enrolling, but this should remind of us of the ultimate outcome of the Oregon Health Plan back in the early 2000s; when it was quickly realized the government didn’t have enough money to cover the surge in free health care, and instead the Oregon Health Plan became a lottery based admittance program.

  • thevillageidiot

    Mr Conger, do you really expect an answer from the Governor? You should demand the same from our illustrious US Senators. They are supposed to represent the state. I bet Wyden and Merkley would both be extraordinarily excited about standing up to the Pres and in front of the Senate and declare Oregon is opting out and “seeks a federal waiver that would allow individuals to bypass the
    exchange and qualify for federal tax subsidies by purchasing health
    insurance from private carriers.”
    Good luck with that one

  • bifford

    Let’s not forget that Conger not only got in bed with the Democrats to fund the Exchanges but was part of the leadership that got a whole bunch of House Republicans to do the same. He was warned at the time and did it anyway.

  • Jack Lord God

    Meanwhile Rocky King, the disgraced director of Cover Oregon, now resides on a tropical island, somewhere in the South Pacific, quietly playing cards and chuckling with his chums, the corporate officers of Solyndra and Jane Cease.

    Will there be any questioning of this? Will anyone call Rocky King to the witness stand and ask him what the hell he was doing all those years, other than collecting a fat pay check and laughing at the foolish taxpayers for being suckered again?

    Nope. These guys skate every single time. The singular reason why respect for government, both in absolute terms, and in its ability to actually accomplish anything constructive is so low.

    If we saw just a glimmer of accountability it would be refreshing. We won’t though, and we all know it.

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