OUR VIEW: Oregon deserved better

Written by Observer editorial April 28, 2014 10:02 am

We’ve already devoted time in this space and on this page to the debacle that is the state’s online health exchange network.

Yet, the news Friday that Oregon officials were turning over the beleaguered system to the federal government, in what can only be seen as an admission of abject failure, punctuates the discouraging aspects of the entire episode.

Designed to allow individuals to enroll for healthcare coverage, the online portal proved to be plagued by problems from the start and things never improved. So far, not one individual has been able to enroll in one sitting through the online system.

Already the federal government has launched an investigation into the exchange and an independent probe pushed by Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber discovered that officials did not adequately note technical problems. The probe also asserted that the contractor hired to build the site did not do a very good job.

All of this, in the end, leads even the most disinterested observer to conclude that the entire process was a discouraging exhibit of good intentions gone horribly awry and total lack of oversight.

The taxpayers, no Oregon, deserved better than this.

Now it is important that the lessons learned in this debacle not be forgotten. There is enough blame to go around on this particular issue and in a political season it is easy to find fault. Still, what is more important now is not the fact the system failed — there is no way to avoid that conclusion on any level — but what measures will officials use in the future to ensure such fiascos do not occur again.

That is really the key question. And so far, there do not seem to be any ready answers to it.