Price tag for inaction on Cover Oregon: $20 million


Oregon Senate Republicans

Embattled agency expected to spend $200,000 a day for remainder of the year

Salem, OR -Without legislative intervention, the defunct Cover Oregon agency is planning to spend an additional $20 million on operation costs through the remainder of the year, or $200,000 per day in a five day work week. A growing number of legislators are calling for an emergency legislative special session to close Cover Oregon.

“It’s yet another reason to immediately shut down Cover Oregon, rather than waiting for a session that is six months away,” said Senator Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg). “There is too much money at stake, too few answers and a track record of too many failures. It is foolish to maintain the same course knowing how much money will be wasted.”

Cover Oregon is currently paying salary, benefits, legal services and renting working space for 120 employees and dozens of contractors. The workload is shrinking for this large staff and there has been no explanation what responsibilities will remain in their purview besides from public relations after November 15th. More than three quarters of Cover Oregon’s current responsibilities are already scheduled to move to the federal exchange on that date. Legislative action before then could help clarify and streamline the transition process, allowing for everything but what is absolutely necessary to move to the federal site.

By the end of the year Cover Oregon will have spent more than $300 million on a website that will never work.

According to Cover Oregon, they will have $4.3 million in reserves by the end of this year. Given the pattern of missteps and mismanagement, waiting to shutter Cover Oregon could put Oregon taxpayers on the hook for additional mistakes that occur inside of Cover Oregon over the next five months.

Source: Cover Oregon Annual Expenditures Forecast, Page 11, Slide 21