Some Obamacare state exchanges doing well, but at least one is a disaster

By Tony Ortega
Friday, November 15, 2013 10:57 EDT
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Obamacare healthcare exchange website please wait (AFP)
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Wednesday, the Seattle Times reported that the Washington Health Benefit Exchange had reported numbers that were even better than those released earlier in the day by Kathleen Sebelius and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Between October 1 and November 7, Washington state’s website had enrolled 77,000 people in Obamacare coverage (with 68,532 through Medicaid expansion, and 9,230 through the exchange).

That makes Washington one of the most successful states to sign up residents, and supports the idea that the states that created their own exchanges are having more success enrolling people in Obamacare than through the glitchy federal website.

But right next door to Washington, there’s another story. Oregon’s program is a nightmare, and so far has not enrolled anyone.

Oregon’s Obamacare website still isn’t working properly, and locals are blaming an ambitious governor who had wanted to set up a model program for the rest of the country.

“Interviews with state officials and a review of public records by The Associated Press suggest Cover Oregon officials bit off more than they could chew and clung to their ambitious vision even when their risk management consultants raised alarms,” the AP reported this week.

When Sebelius released numbers on Wednesday, Oregon was one of several states that had no results to report. The others were Hawaii, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia.

Washington was third best behind New York (16,404) and California (35,364).

The AP reports that in Oregon, the state’s reputation for being a “pacesetter” in health care may have gone to its leader’s heads. “Reality is lagging far behind Gov. John Kitzhaber’s grand ideas. The online system still doesn’t work, and the exchange has yet to enroll a single person in health insurance.”

But the most puzzling results might be coming from Massachusetts, whose own health care program, Commonwealth Care, Obamacare is modeled on.

Only 800 people have been signed up in the Massachusetts exchange, reports the Boston Business Journal.

It turns out that the problematic $69 million Massachusetts website was built by the same firm — CGI — behind the federal site.

[Image: Obamacare healthcare exchange website please wait via AFP]

Tony Ortega
Tony Ortega
Tony Ortega is Raw Story's executive editor. From 2007 to 2012 , he was editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. He also worked at Voice Media Group's other newspapers in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Kansas City, and Fort Lauderdale. He lives in New York City and is originally from Los Angeles.
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