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United States Medicine Technology

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 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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  • Idiots (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 12, 2013 @11:14PM (#45677011)

    Could have done better by just giving each of those 44 people a couple hundred grand or so. Instead it cost 680k per person.

    But what do you REALLY expect from our goverment anymore... Just be glad they didn't roll in ruin your life and shoot your dog i guess.

  • 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. []

    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

    Mod story -1 stupid.

  • 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 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 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 [], thank you.

  • 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: []

    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 [] ), 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.

  • Don't be so stupid (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 13, 2013 @12:01AM (#45677305)

    Most of the "signups" are for Medicaid across the country.

    Which only proves that the administration is so inept that when they're giving away free healthcare, they can't actually get anyone to sign up.

    Obama could f-up an anvil. Jimmy Carter laughs at Obama.

  • 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).

  • by Above (100351) on Friday December 13, 2013 @12:18AM (#45677411)

    I hate to reply to an AC, but I hate wrong information more.

    Multiple [] stories [] corroborate [] that the actual number potentially losing healthcare is one million, not the five million the AC suggested. These are policies that don't meet the ACA's minimum coverage levels, and thus are no longer allowed to be offered.

    This has been a point pounded hard by those on the right ("If you like your plan you can keep it" was a lie!), wanting to point to people losing insurance. The left's typical response is that the plans are junk plans, and folks are better off being forced to get a real plan. Since those arguments are all over the web, I'm going to skip past them. Visit Google News [] to find them if you have missed out.

    As is often the case, reality isn't simple enough to be captured in a sound byte. The law had a provision to grandfather old plans []:

    So what happens to the plans that don't meet the new minimum standards? They will likely disappear. A handful of existing plans will be grandfathered in, but the qualifying criteria for that is hard to meet: Members have to have been enrolled in the plan before the ACA passed in 2010, and the plan has to have maintained fairly steady co-pay, deductible and coverage rates until now.

    What insurers have done is made sure no pre-2010 plan stayed in effect (yes, they cancel millions of plans every year), and for the few that have they have made sure the co-pays, deductibles, and coverage have changed significantly. Why would they do that? Well there are a about 4 million people [] on junk plans. How bad are these plans []?

    One example: the "Go Blue Health Services Card'' for which cancer survivor Donnamarie Palin of New Port Richey has paid $79 a month. For that, she gets $50 toward each primary care doctor visit, $15 toward each drug — but zero coverage for big-ticket items like hospital stays.

    Get in a car wreck, no coverage. Get cancer, no coverage. Need a wart removed, no coverage. Break your arm, no coverage. Yeah. That bad. But they have one thing going for them, they are cheap. $79/month if you don't understand what you're (not) getting seems pretty cheap compared to hundreds of dollars for real insurance. In plain, simple terms these people were going to get a price hike. Now, you're an executive at a health insurance provider faced with the prospect that 4 million people are going to get letters saying "Your $79/month policy is going away, we'd like to offer you a $450/month policy, but it covers a lot more!" Yeah, that's going to lead to lots of bad press on the evening news.

    But the way ACA was written had a convenient out. Make sure the law forced the cancellation of the plans, and then flip the narrative to say the government is canceling your plan. It should be no surprise that it took insurance executives about a nanosecond to figure this out and set the wheels in motion. Just make sure no plan qualified or could be grandfathered in.

    Now that the Scooby Doo "how did they do it" moment is over, there is one bit left to tidy up. The savvy reader will notice 1 million Californians had their policy cancelled, but o

  • by artor3 (1344997) on Friday December 13, 2013 @12:30AM (#45677477)

    What then is left? Well... we have the emperical fact of the healthcare premiums going up. That's a fact.

    Premiums always go up, it's called inflation. But the rate of increase is near all time lows. []

    We have 70 percent of doctors in many areas boycotting the ACA. That is a fact.

    No, it's not a fact. [] It's a straight up lie. You're just gullible.

    We have people with serious illnesses that were covered under the old system losing their healthcare and having new healthcare policies offered that are twice as expensive. That is a fact.

    That's an anecdote. I could dig up dozens of counter examples, but why waste my time? You're just performing a Gish Gallop [].

  • by EzInKy (115248) on Friday December 13, 2013 @12:34AM (#45677501)

    The same goes for conservative Kentucy. []

    "While the federal health exchange website 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."

  • Re:Well lucky you (Score:2, Informative)

    by ArchieBunker (132337) on Friday December 13, 2013 @12:36AM (#45677513) Homepage

    What fantasy land do you live in? There is no renegotiating my benefits. You either accept the insurance as offered or decline it. My employer pays a large chunk of the insurance costs. If I chose Obama care the cost would be outrageous for similar benefits.

  • by Garridan (597129) on Friday December 13, 2013 @01:07AM (#45677651)
    Utterly beside the point. Look at the headline: they picked the state that did the worst over the course of its first month already known to be riddled with website issues. News, this ain't -- no need to defend its nerdsforiness.
  • 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 []

    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 [] of the Democratic Republic of North Korea or Fox news.

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

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday December 13, 2013 @02:07AM (#45677907) Journal

    Eventually the buck stops somewhere, and any logical person would have to admit that at this point the Affordable Care Act has been rolled out terribly.

    One piece of the Affordable Care Act has been rolled out terribly.
    It's not even the most important part.

    The really important pieces of the Affordable Care Act have been in place for months now.
    Stuff like requiring insurance companies to spend ~80% of premiums on health care
    and not disqualifying you because of a pre-existing condition. Or how about removing lifetime caps on coverage.

    I could go on, but the Affordable Care Act has a lot of other moving pieces.
    Eventually people will get signed up and then all the criticism will have done naught but poison the atmosphere.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Friday December 13, 2013 @02:08AM (#45677909)

    That's rather the point.

    Seems the point is a lie. Oregon has 8752 completed applications, not 44. 44 is a lie. The site was crap. That says nothing about ACA, just that OR bit off more than it could chew, and probably should have gone with the federal default. The point was about the site, and only the site.

  • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:4, Informative)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday December 13, 2013 @02:10AM (#45677919)

    Moron, if you do anything for pay and therefore end up with any posessions you are by definition a "capitalist"

    No, that is not want a capitalist is. A capitalist is someone who invests in businesses. This investment is called "capital". Investment is usually (but not always) in the form of stock. Most Americans are capitalists, by owning shares directly, or indirectly through a pension plan.

  • 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.

  • 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: []

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

    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) 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.

  • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:5, Informative)

    by maharvey (785540) on Friday December 13, 2013 @03:05AM (#45678101)

    I think only 44 people caring about not getting ripped by health care companies constitutes mass stupidity.

    You mean only 44 people were stupid enough to fall for the rip-off, or else in sufficiently desperate medical need.

    Have you actually looked at the cost/benefit of the plans in Oregon's ACA offerings? I did. The cheapest bronze plan (and the ACA is supposed to benefit the poor right?) costs 119/mo. Sounds like a bargain right? But after considering the 5250.00 deductible, and the fact that it only covers 60% of costs after the deductible is met, you'd have to spend 198.00 a month in medical bills to break even on having insurance, vs paying out of pocket.

    Maybe a silver or gold plan is better? Here's the "highest quality" silver plan according to Oregon's ACA website: 242.00/mo premiums, but it doesn't pay for itself unless you have at least 300.00/mo in health costs. Invariably the better the plan, the higher the break even point, and thus the worse the value. Of course its disguised with low copays and stuff. The only way these are worthwhile is if you have very high costs, month after month.

    Oh, and those are the subsidized rates. For someone like me, with an income, the premiums will be much higher, adn therefore the break even will also be correspondingly higher.

    This is a huge scam... I spend maybe 300 a year... and I'm in my mid 40s, well past the point of being a "young invincible". I pay it out of pocket through a HDHP. Why would I want to go spend 1200 a year for a super cheap plan, which won't even pay anything because I'll never even get past the deductible? My out of pocket would quintuple, up to 1500/year, with absolutely no benefit.

    For "young invicibles" with health costs approaching zero, one is WAY better off paying 600/year in penalties and paying your medical costs out of pocket, than getting suckered into Obamacare.

    I know it's supposed to be some sort of communistic wealth redistribution. I am supposed to pay more than my fair share so that someone else can pay less than theirs. Fuck that! Why are they so special? I work for my money, I paid my dues, and no it wasn't fun. It was sacrifice. That I paid. Where the hell is my special treatment? Maybe I should quit my job and let you all support ME for free. Raise my taxes enough, take away my motivation for work and maybe I'll do just that.

  • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 13, 2013 @03:30AM (#45678157)

    ...Oregon is a Democratic state...

    LOL! The author obviously knows nothing about Oregon. Oregon is not a Democratic state. Portland is a city with a high population density of lefties surrounded by a sparsely populated state of Teabaggers.

  • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday December 13, 2013 @03:34AM (#45678163)

    A Capitalist is anyone that invests in property. Whether that be a car, an iPhone, a house

    No. Capital only refers to investment in productive assets, not private property in general.

    Socialists on the other hand feel that the state and or society has a right to either that property or the benefits from the use of said property over the rights of the owner.

    Nonsense. No socialist/communist government has ever completely banned private property. Socialism only refers to government ownership of the means of production.

  • by jo_ham (604554) <> on Friday December 13, 2013 @08:02AM (#45679013)

    This sounds like an awful massive case of "hey, not my responsibility!" justifications.

    Hey, only the fucked parts of this rollout are fucked and we aren't going to count those, so shit ain't fucked.

    You mean the original article, right?

    The headline strongly implies that for $300 million spent, only 44 people were signed up, when actually when you look at the facts, this is simply untrue.

    A more accurate headline would be "after spending $300 million dollars, there are still 30,000 people waiting for ACA applications to be approved".

  • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 13, 2013 @09:03AM (#45679197)

    I don't think you understand what "insurance" is or how it's supposed to work. It works like this: Most people don't get their money's worth back. That's mathematically how every insurance pool in the world works. You pay in money you will likely never take advantage of for the safety of being taken care of if you happen to get the statistical short straw.

  • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:5, Informative)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday December 13, 2013 @09:12AM (#45679229) Homepage

    You seem to have misunderstood the point of insurance. The way it works is that you pay more than you need to most of the time on the off chance that something goes horribly wrong.

    For example, you probably pay for car insurance. Most of the time, that's simply an expense with no benefit to you whatsoever. The reason you have it, though, is that the insurance company eats almost all of the expense if some idiot slams into your car at 90 mph on the highway.

    Ditto for homeowners or renters insurance: Most of the time, it's purely expense. But if your house burns down, guess who you're going to be calling?

    Medical insurance isn't really that different: Most of the time, you pay in more than you pay out. That's to offset your expenses when you discover that you have leukemia (as a generally pretty healthy friend of mine did just last Sunday). Or do you really think you have the cash on hand to just pay a $450,000 hospital bill?

  • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Orange Crush (934731) on Friday December 13, 2013 @11:08AM (#45680135)
    We have an incomplete description of this bronze plan. To qualify as an exchange-eligible plan, there will be a yearly out of pocket maximum after which insurance pays 100%. It's probably in the vicinity of $8k or so. It also must cover defined "preventative care" items 100% and those items are not subject to the deductible. The idea here is to get people to go to their doctors regularly in the hopes of catching issues early when they are the least expensive to treat. It's also intended to keep people who do have serious issues from being bankrupted by $100k and up medical bills.
  • Re:No Slugfest (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dragonslicer (991472) on Friday December 13, 2013 @12:14PM (#45680809)
    My personal favorite is still how, at one point, 45% opposed Obamacare, while 35% opposed the ACA.
  • Re:News for Nerds? (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday December 13, 2013 @12:53PM (#45681289)

    this needs to be repeated since the 'its all about ME!' people can't get their heads around it.

    the whole point of insurance is to take care of really bad things that can happen to you (car insurance, business insurance, malpractice insurance, health insurance, etc).

    "I'm young and healthy. why should I have to help support others who might have problems?"

    way to go, you selfish "me me me!" people (not the poster, but doubters, in general).

    one day, as you get older, you WILL need health insurance to cover the high cost of some procedure. its a given even if you young-uns think you wont run into problems later.

    if everyone kicks in, there is enough funding and shared risk to make THE SYSTEM actually work.

An elephant is a mouse with an operating system.