OUR VIEW: Extension the right route for all
In terms of political and governmental debacles, voters will have a hard time finding a case that outshines the recent Cover Oregon fiasco.
That is why the news last week that Oregonians will secure an extra month to sign up for the subsidized health plan was such a breath of fresh air.
Lately, just about anything remotely linked to the troubled health program has been contaminated by controversy.
Most readers probably already know the basic facts regarding the Cover Oregon flaws. After the state dumped somewhere around $200 million into Cover Oregon, the program basically doesn’t work. More than five months after the online health exchange was to be operational, people still cannot sign up completely for health insurance. Instead, voters must utilize a combination of the online system and a paper process.
Recently, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber fired one key official — Bruce Goldberg, the director of the Oregon Health Authority — after a second independent report on the failed system showed serious flaws. And the governor has been in the bull’s-eye of public criticism regarding the failure of the system. To some extent, Kitzhaber does share some blame. As the leader of the state, and at the end of the day, the proverbial buck does stop at his desk.
Still, while it is always gratifying for many to point fingers and seek judgment, in the end this latest saga should be more about what the state’s elected and appointed officials are going to do to fix the broken system.
The deadline extension is a good first step on the long road to redemption in the Cover Oregon chronicle. The new deadline stipulates Oregonians will have until April 30 to sign up for subsidized health care insurance. The extension was granted after the Obama administration declared it would need the extra time because of specific situations, including technology issues.
All of this, of course, is because of the new federal law that requires Americans to have health care coverage.
The deadline extension is not only a good thing, it is the right route in the wake of the Cover Oregon disaster.