Oregon has, by far, the most trouble-ridden of all the 14 state-created Affordable Care Act exchanges. Half a year after it should have been up the site is still not work so a group of employees are recommending they simply pull the plug and replace it with the federal exchange. From Portland Business Journal:
Cover Oregon’s technology committee recommends shifting individual enrollment from the state’s embattled health exchange to the federal government’s website, HealthCare.gov.
The recommendation, at a Thursday meeting, comes a day before the Cover Oregon board of directors is set to make a final recommendation on the matter.
The recommendation is based on the cost of keeping the exchange state-operated, as well the timeline for fixing it. It would cost the state $5 million to go with the federal exchange as opposed to the $78 million it would cost to stabilize the current software, using a new vendor, along with 390 hours of work.
The decision to go with state-based exchanges instead of one nationally-run exchange was one of those idiotic demands made by “centrist Democrats” for seemingly no other reasons than to piss of liberals with stupid policy. As we have all seen, building an exchange is very costly and difficult; but once it is built, expanding it is a fairly minor operation. Instead of spending the money once the original plan was to spend roughly the amount 50 times.
While many Republican-controlled states reject building their own exchanges mainly to spite the law, this decision probably turns out out to be a good financial move, the best possible policy outcome, and a smart political decision. As we have seen, even several Democratic states which were very determined to make the law work have experienced problems even worse than Healthcare.gov’s.
Some $248 million was wasted on this Oregon exchange which will probably never be used. I would be very interested to see an analysis of how much less would have been spent if no state decided to build their own exchange from the beginning.