Oregon is scrambling to open its new federally mandated health insurance exchange, dubbed Cover Oregon, on time October 1st. Since the commodity being marketed is health insurance, one can only imagine the number of things going wrong: price quotes, online application forms, privacy protection, etc.
But when Cover Oregon’s Chief Operating Officer went on a recent multi-state conference call with President Obama to discuss the problems various states were having with their exchanges, she didn’t mention any of those issues. She said the number one problem for her organization was parking.*
When asked by the President to clarify, she said, “We have 150 employees at our Tualatin office, and only 96 parking spaces.” The President had to tell her that even the vast powers of the Oval Office did not extend to solving local parking shortages.
This was a classic Oregon moment. In a conversation about how the state will ration health care―an industry covering roughly one-seventh of the economy―we discover that management can’t even successfully ration parking for their own employees.
ObamaCare is already collapsing under its own weight. Things are likely to get much worse before they get better.
John A. Charles, Jr. is President and CEO of Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.
* The source of this story was testimony by Rocky King, Executive Director of Cover Oregon. He told it on Sept. 16th in testimony to a joint hearing of the interim House and Senate health care committees in Salem. The hearing audio wasn’t posted immediately but it is now online here:
The parking story begins at about 59:35 and ends at about 1:00:35 into the hearing.
Learn more at cascadepolicy.org.