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Oregon Signs Up Just 44 People For Obamacare Despite Spending $300 Million 586

Posted by samzenpus
from the try-again-later dept.
cold fjord writes "The Washington Examiner reports, 'Oregon ... signed up just 44 people for insurance through November, despite spending more than $300 million on its state-based exchange. The state's exchange had the fewest sign-ups in the nation, according to a new report today by the Department of Health and Human Services. The weak number of sign-ups undercuts two major defenses of Obamacare from its supporters. One defense was that state-based exchanges were performing a lot better than the federal healthcare.gov website servicing 36 states. But Oregon's website problems have forced the state to rely on paper applications to sign up participants. Another defense of the Obama administration has attributed the troubled rollout of Obamacare to the obstruction of Republican governors who wanted to see the law fail as well as a lack of funding. But Oregon is a Democratic state that embraced Obamacare early and enthusiastically.'"
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Oregon Signs Up Just 44 People For Obamacare Despite Spending $300 Million

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  • News for Nerds? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 12, 2013 @11:13PM (#45677001)
    Does this really belong on /.? Seriously?
    • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by amiga3D (567632) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @11:19PM (#45677031)

      It is just flamebait. They know that these kinds of articles just end up being a blue vs red slugfest.

    • by MrEricSir (398214)

      The real "nerd angle" on this story has nothing to do with who's president, but rather that it's another one of Oracle's embarrassing failures. You'd have to be pretty desperate to blame anyone in D.C. for this.

  • Civics Lesson (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScottCooperDotNet (929575) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @11:16PM (#45677017)

    Another defense of the Obama administration has attributed the troubled rollout of Obamacare to the obstruction of Republican governors who wanted to see the law fail as well as a lack of funding.

    In the tiered form of American government, states cannot merely be told to do something by the federal government in most cases. This is why highway money is tied to specific road laws (seatbelts, etc), because the federal government has to financially coerce states into action (or losing tax dollars). How the Affordable Care Act doesn't have this coercion, I can only guess.

    • Re:Civics Lesson (Score:5, Informative)

      by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Friday December 13, 2013 @12:14AM (#45677391) Homepage Journal

      At least in part because of the Supreme Court ruling.

      The Medicaid expansion was supposed to be a precondition of the states continuing to receive their federal Medicaid grants. The Supreme Court ruled that putting conditions on federal spending was coercive and couldn't be allowed (ponder that for a while).

      • Re:Civics Lesson (Score:5, Insightful)

        by superwiz (655733) on Friday December 13, 2013 @03:07AM (#45678107) Journal

        ponder that for a while

        Well, if the fed govt can't attach conditions to the arts funding, why should it be able to attach conditions to states continuing to receive medicaid grants. If that money is already apportioned for medical spending, then taking it away would be tantamount to threatening to bankrupt state government if they don't "volunteer" for a new federal program.

    • It did. The government agreed to pick up the tab for Medicaid expansion for three years, then pick up 90% of the burden for another seven years, to allow time for the states to come up with revenue sharing on their own.

      Republican governors didn't want to do that, because "coming up with revenue" means they can't spend any expected savings (from cost reductions in other areas, like ER subsidies) or worse, they might have to raise taxes a fraction of a percent in a decade. Quel horreur!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 13, 2013 @02:47AM (#45678039)

      the Affordable Care Act has absolutely nothing to do with Cover Oregon's problems.

      the Cover Oregon website was a system devised with the influence of the insurance and health care *industry* to channel people to for-profit companies.

      here is an NPR (Oregon Public Broadcasting) story that examines a person trying to use the site step-by-step: http://www.opb.org/news/article/are-health-insurance-companies-ranking-themselves-on-coveroregon/ [opb.org]

      the Cover Oregon website is only part of Oregon's rollout of Obamacare...they have 30,000 paper applications waiting to be processed [oregonlive.com]

      So there are several problems with your criticism of the ACA and socialized medicine in general

      1. the ACA and 'Obamacare' is not socialized medicine (i wish it was)...it is a federal government subsidy of personal and business insurance executed in the federal system by either the states or the federal government itself

      2. Cover Oregon's online system was made by a company funded by the insurance industry

      3. Cover Oregon's website lists **ONLY** insurance plans from health care companies

      4. "Cover Oregon" is a program, not a website. The **program** has signed at least 30,000 people to date which is alot more than 44

      So you are wrong in every part of your premise.

      • Stop spouting facts. They are irrelevant in internet arguments.

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @11:17PM (#45677021)

    1. Washington Examiner is one of the MOST extreme right wing political rags in the country.

    2. Oregon's web site has not even been online most of the time. It is a total fiasco. Any conclusions on the PPACA based on Oregon are completely ridiculous.

    http://news.yahoo.com/oregon-healthcare-exchange-website-never-worked-no-subscribers-130601969--sector.html [yahoo.com]

    3. The situation is NOT representative of what is going on in the rest of the country where signups are increasing at a brisk pace after the improvements on Healthcare.gov.

    Mod story -1 stupid.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 12, 2013 @11:27PM (#45677065)

      Yeah, this overtly trollish "story" appearing on slashdot is a fucking embarrassment.

      Nothing to do with news for nerds. Nothing you wouldn't find on any right-wing extreme blog.

      According to the linked pdf, Oregon had 20,617 applications completed. Look at the other states-- this one is going through a cluster-fuck, but liberal California, with its well-designed and fully operational web site, is doing just fine [reuters.com], thank you.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by EzInKy (115248)

        The same goes for conservative Kentucy. [cnn.com]

        "While the federal health exchange website healthcare.gov has been brought to its knees with ongoing technological problems, Kynect had enrolled nearly 48,000 people in new health coverage, including Medicaid and private plans, as of Nov. 14, according to the state's most recent data. "#Obamacare is working in KY, an average of 1,000 people sign-up each day," Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear recently bragged on Twitter."

  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beavertank (1178717) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @11:17PM (#45677023)
    When you say "One defense was that state-based exchanges were performing a lot better than the federal healthcare.gov website servicing 36 states." and then follow it up with "But Oregon's website problems have forced the state to rely on paper applications to sign up participants." are you actually trying to use one state-run exchange's technical failure to undermine the other states whose exchanges are working just fine?

    I ask, because if that IS what you did (and it does appear you did) you need to take a remedial course on logic.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It makes perfect sense. It's like how after I got into a car crash while perfectly sober, I stopped following that "don't drink and drive" malarkey that's so popular these days.

  • Thanks Oracle. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nerrd (1094283) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @11:17PM (#45677025)
  • Cherry-pick, much? (Score:5, Informative)

    by artor3 (1344997) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @11:22PM (#45677043)

    The weak number of sign-ups undercuts two major defenses of Obamacare from its supporters. One defense was that state-based exchanges were performing a lot better than the federal healthcare.gov website servicing 36 states.

    And that defense is accurate. The state-based exchanges are doing well, on average. The only state-based exchanges that are lagging are in Oregon, Maryland, and Nevada. And the latter two are comparable to the federal exchange. Only Oregon is a real disaster.

    And furthermore, the point of that defense is to counter the Republicans claiming that the problems of the federal exchange are due to the law being unworkable. The success of the exchanges in New York, New England, Kentucky, California, etc., proves that the law can work.

    • by jon3k (691256)
      The fact that you can build a state exchange doesn't prove the law can work. There are many components and just being able to purchase insurance is one very small part. I'm not saying the law CAN'T work, just that you cannot draw that conclusion from one tiny piece.
  • by Cwix (1671282) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @11:25PM (#45677055)

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/18/the-other-side-of-obamacares-oregon-success-no-one-has-bought-private-insurance/ [washingtonpost.com]
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/20/oregon-obamacare-website_n_4308629.html [huffingtonpost.com]

    The number is so dismal because the Oregon website was worse then the National website. Not because people dont want it as the linked article implies.

    Nearly 25,000 individuals and families have so far submitted hard-copy applications, Cox said, with nearly two-thirds of those applicants eligible for Medicaid, a federal-state healthcare plan for the needy.

    But none of those applicants has actually been enrolled, with manual processing of the paperwork slowing the process dramatically.

    Separately, about 70,000 residents have signed up for Medicaid by responding to letters sent by the state to more than 200,000 people deemed eligible for the program by virtue of their receiving food stamps, Cox said.

    Oh wait look who submitted it, cold fjord our resident republi-troll. Hey Cold Fjord... Fuck Off.

    • Why is the websites such a big deal then if you can submit a paper application? That is how every application to the government that I have made, passport, drivers license, SIN, has been done so far in my life. Income tax has moved online, but you can still paper file.
  • by ndykman (659315) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @11:30PM (#45677093)

    But, it's not a widespread commendation of the ACA law. In fact, as noted, there are significant enrollments by paper.

    Also, there is a huge crunch on the backend to automate the purchasing process. Surprise, most health insurers are not set up to make it easy for people to purchase health plans online, much less handle large numbers of enrollments. Also, there is a lot of work around the small group marketplaces. The article and summary make it sound like 300 million was spent just on the web site. It's not even close. Granted the web site is just broken and heads are starting to roll.

    Oh, and the main contractor for the project was Oracle, so, well, if anybody can make that much disappear they can.

  • Pathetic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by laird (2705) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <pdrial>> on Thursday December 12, 2013 @11:30PM (#45677097) Journal

    What a pathetic day, when political trolling, with not even a hit of actual technical content, is published as as story on Slashdot. Isn't someone paid to moderate this stuff for substance and relevance?

  • Or just maybe (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Virtucon (127420) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @11:32PM (#45677107)

    Nobody trusts the websites to begin with both in terms of reliability, information availability and security. People I know who've tried the Federal website have been shrugging their shoulders because its navigation sucks and they can get more information from sites like eHealthInsurance.com.

    The other problem is for the rest of us in the "insured" category our premiums are going up substantially while existing plans disappear, lose choices of Hospital networks and get wonderful things we don't need anymore (at least at my age..) Maternity care because all the plans have to have it. For all of that I have a new bunch of taxes to subsidize those who can't afford it and my premiums have gone up 225% For that increase I could buy a nice summer home. This isn't the Affordable Care Act it's "you have to do it our way because we say so." Like your current doctor? He's not "In-Network" so we won't cover visits. Like that hospital you've been going to for years? "It's too expensive and we know it's 15 miles closer than the other facility, it's not in your network but you can go there for emergencies since it's the closest to you." The rationing of healthcare has begun and with it you'll pay more (for most of the middle class) and get less. Such a bargain! We should all be signing up on untested websites where you don't know how your information is handled and what they do with the PII you give them.

    I can't wait for the midterm elections.

    • Re:Or just maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ebno-10db (1459097) on Friday December 13, 2013 @12:40AM (#45677525)

      Your complaints about Obamacare are valid. Welcome to the only healthcare system in the world that relies primarily on for-profit insurance companies. You want to return to the status quo ante Obamacare? Well, that left tens of millions without health insurance. It would also leave you without health insurance if you had any serious medical problems. So how to address all these concerns? I've got it - copy Canada's system. Nah, too simple, too well proven, we've got to think of some brilliant approach instead.

      • by _Sharp'r_ (649297)

        that left tens of millions without health insurance

        At this rate, it's highly likely that there will be more uninsured in the U.S. over the next few years than over the last few years. That's what happens when you make a product significantly more expensive and more difficult to sell and to purchase.

        If you think things are bad now, wait until next year when the business mandate that Obama unilaterally delayed kicks in. That's going to be even worse for the people who already had insurance....

        The real questio

      • by Virtucon (127420)

        Well it's not a healthcare system, it's an insurance system that was imposed on all of us. If we were to honestly take on the issues of costs in the healthcare system, which the ACA didn't address, that would mean taking on the Doctors, the Hospitals,the large network providers that fix prices in their favor and we left out the biggest profit whores, the drug manufacturers who were left in tact under ACA. That was what the single payer notion was about but that's anti-business and we love our business opp

    • Re:Or just maybe (Score:4, Informative)

      by Immerman (2627577) on Friday December 13, 2013 @02:31AM (#45677993)

      Realistically there is absolutely no reason for mandatory maternity care insurance to add any cost to the insurance plan of somebody beyond child-bearing age - insurance against a nigh-impossible event is cheap, unless of course the insurance company is exploiting mandatory changes to increase profit margins (Corporations exploiting legal loopholes for profit? Never!). On the other hand your advanced years mean that you are coming in to the most expensive part of your medical life, compared to which maternity care is a drop in the bucket. IIRC a US citizen is expected to rack up something like 80% of their lifetime medical bills in their last year of life, and the decade prior isn't exactly all sunshine and lollipops.

  • Yes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meglon (1001833) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @11:46PM (#45677203)
    Once again the abject failure of private companies is blamed on the government, because there are people who are too ideologically head-up-ass to look at the reality of the situation. If privatization was such a boon, all the exchanges would be working incredibly well, and they wouldn't have cost near as much.
  • From an Oregonian... (Score:5, Informative)

    by maccodemonkey (1438585) on Thursday December 12, 2013 @11:46PM (#45677207)

    If you want the real scoop, check out what our local newspaper wrote:
    http://www.oregonlive.com/health/index.ssf/2013/12/oregons_health_exchange_woes_s_1.html [oregonlive.com]

    TL;DR: Someone thought control should be handed over to private industry, Oracle was signed up to create the website, they totally screwed it up, and now the website is basically useless and for a long while wasn't even able to sign people up.

    So while the public/Democrat finger pointing is good and all (and I don't know who wrote up this summary, they're totally ill informed, outside of Portland Oregon is mostly conversative, in fact here is a map http://bluebook.state.or.us/facts/almanac/almanac10.htm [state.or.us] ), it's really that Oracle screwed everyone over. That's the real story, and the state is looking for a way to get their money back.

    • by scamper_22 (1073470) on Friday December 13, 2013 @12:03AM (#45677321)

      The interesting thing is that the real test of ObamaCare will not be in this website.

      Yes, I suppose anti-ObamaCare people can say they couldn't even get the website right. The rest of it must be a disaster.

      On the other hand, we have pro-ObamaCare people cheering when the website gets fixed or more people sign up.

      I dare say, all this website stuff will be worked out eventually. It's all rather irreleevant. The real test of ObamaCare will be in its costs, subsidies, who it affects business/people, payments to medical providers, how it impacts MediCare, how it impacts innovation, how it impacts rationing, how it affects current insurance plans, how it distorts the labor market, how it reduces costs, how it provides better healthcare...

      You know, all the important stuff.

  • by Blitter (15795) on Friday December 13, 2013 @12:04AM (#45677327)

    Oregon taxpayers on the hook for this?

    No problem. Oregon went for Obama. They broke it they bought it. Live and learn.

  • Seriously, the summary is even laughably over-spun. They are blaming this on the Obama administration while simultaneously admitting that Oregon set up a state exchange, meaning they did not require interaction from the federal website or the federal government for anything beyond certifying that people bought qualified plans. Yet we go and blame the low enrollment on Obama.

    Of course, here on slashdot, anything and everything wrong in the world can be blamed on Obama and Monica Lewinsky, personally.
  • Extrapolation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ZombieRoboNinja (905329) on Friday December 13, 2013 @12:58AM (#45677597)

    So here are some data points we start with:

    1. The ACA is a neoliberal kludge designed to give more people healthcare without getting rid of the for-profit insurance industry.
    2. The federal government hired private companies to make the federal website (to the degree that Congress would fund it).
    3. Oregon hired Oracle to make their state website.
    4. The state and federal websites both suck.
    5. Lots more people are signing up for Medicaid than for private insurance through the exchanges, because it's free and easier.

    Now, as a liberal I look at these data points and extrapolate, "Hmm, sounds like private industry isn't automagically more efficient at everything. Heck, I bet if we just extended Medicare to everyone we wouldn't be in this mess to begin with! We could skip the whole part where we let private companies take 15% of our insurance dollars even though the federal programs manage with like 6% overhead! Seems like basically every other industrialized nation in the world has the right idea!" But I guess if you stick enough ellipses in those bullet points, you're left with "ACA... website... suck." Which proves that government is the problem and we should let the invisible hand rule, or something.

  • Troll much? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Required Snark (1702878) on Friday December 13, 2013 @01:30AM (#45677745)
    Hmm, the Washington Examiner. I wonder if they have an ax to grind?

    Wikipedia Washington Examiner Political Views [wikipedia.org]

    When Anschutz started the Examiner in its daily newspaper format, he envisioned creating a conservative competitor to The Washington Post. According to Politico, "When it came to the editorial page, Anschutz’s instructions were explicit — he 'wanted nothing but conservative columns and conservative op-ed writers,' said one former employee." The Examiner's conservative writers include Byron York (National Review), Michael Barone (American Enterprise Institute, Fox News Channel), and David Freddoso (National Review, author of The Case Against Barack Obama).

    The daily newspaper endorsed John McCain in the 2008 presidential election and Adrian Fenty in the Democratic primary for mayor in 2010. On December 14, 2011, it endorsed Mitt Romney for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, saying he was the only Republican who could beat Barack Obama in the general election, releasing a series of articles critical of Obama.

    Clearly a "news organ" of impeccable journalism like the Korean Central News Agency [wikipedia.org] of the Democratic Republic of North Korea or Fox news.

    No ideological bias here. Nothing to see, just move along...

  • by Charcharodon (611187) on Friday December 13, 2013 @01:42AM (#45677799)
    The real reason the Healthcare.gov crashed and continues to crash.

    Some genius posted a story about it on /.

    The website can handle XXXXX traffic per day.

    /. community "Challenge accepted"

    and the rest is history.

  • by jensend (71114) on Friday December 13, 2013 @02:11AM (#45677921)

    I am 28 and presently uninsured. I delayed getting individual insurance because I knew my plan would be canceled at the end of this year (anybody who actually spoke with the insurance companies has known for a long time that "you can keep your plan" was a lie), so I figured I might as well wait for the Obamacare compliant plans.

    Well, the Obamacare compliant plans cost literally over four times as much per month to get comparable insurance. People who went ahead and got the noncompliant plans have now got a reprieve by executive fiat; they can keep the cheap plans another year. All of the effects of this bill have been effectively canceled per dictatorial fiat except for socking it to me and others in similar conditions.

    Depending on what happens with school and work, my income may be low enough that I don't need to pay the fine for being uninsured, but even if it isn't, it's better to pay the $95 fine and gamble on my health being OK than to pay $2400 for a crappy insurance plan.

    The whole situation is insane. Health insurance should be like home insurance. The expected costs of home maintenance are paid out of pocket; your insurer doesn't pay your heating bill or pay to have your gutters cleaned out. Insurance is there to mitigate catastrophic risks, not to take care of your regular expected expenses for you. We do need robust assistance for those who can't pay their expected health costs, but that has nothing to do with insurance, and conflating the two won't make care more affordable. Not being able to pay your health costs is just another form of poverty; it's important to provide a safety net but this is a terrifically thickheaded way to try to go about it.

    A few decades ago most people paid most of their health costs out of pocket and the country was better for it. Having employer insurance take care of everything is basically a modern tax avoidance racket. It's less efficient, the costs balloon, people without employer-provided insurance end up in more and more trouble, and the lost government revenue brings program cuts, higher deficits, or more economically disruptive ways of getting tax revenue. Insurance plans and health savings accounts should be taxed exactly like normal income and savings.

  • by DrJimbo (594231) on Friday December 13, 2013 @07:11AM (#45678871)
    1. Quality health care
    2. Affordable health care
    3. Obscene corporate health care profits

    Pick any two.

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