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