KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Gov. Kitzhaber Sweeps Out Cover Oregon Leadership, Promises Reforms

An analysis of the state marketplace by First Data released Thursday found serious problems with management and communications.

The Oregonian: Kitzhaber Cleans House, Announces Reforms In Wake Of Cover Oregon Health Insurance Exchange Report
Gov. John Kitzhaber announced a major managerial house-cleaning Thursday in response to the state's ongoing health insurance exchange fiasco. Among those departing is perhaps Kitzhaber’s closest and most important health care reform ally, Bruce Goldberg, the Oregon Health Authority director who's led Cover Oregon since January. Kitzhaber said he also asked the Cover Oregon board to remove Triz DelaRosa, chief operating officer for Cover Oregon, and Aaron Karjala, Cover Oregon’s chief information officer. "We have made mistakes and we will learn from it," Kitzhaber said, following the release of an independent report highly critical of the state's work on the project (Budnick, 3/20).

The Oregonian: Republicans Pounce On Cover Oregon Problems, Point Fingers At Gov. John Kitzhaber
Opponents of Gov. John Kitzhaber were quick to paint the Democratic incumbent as out of touch and incompetent Thursday following the release of an investigation into the mishandled Cover Oregon project. The Republican Governors Association blasted out an email tying Kitzhaber to President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan, calling it “Oregon’s nightmare.” And the Republican frontrunner in the gubernatorial primary, state Rep. Dennis Richardson, piled on (Esteve, 3/20).

The New York Times: Health Care Exchange In Oregon Not Meeting High Hopes 
As the federal health care overhaul was rolled out over the last few years, Oregon was invariably the eager overachiever in the first row, waving a hand to volunteer. The governor, John Kitzhaber, a doctor who left the emergency room for politics, made health care his main issue. … Yet for all that, by some measures Oregon has among the most dysfunctional online insurance exchanges in the nation. ... On Thursday, a grim-faced Mr. Kitzhaber released a new report, commissioned by the state with a private company, that underscored how systemic Oregon’s failure has been (Johnson, 3/20).

The Washington Post: After Disastrous Rollout, Oregon Considers Health Exchange Options 
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) has fired the head of the state’s online health-care exchange — the second to leave the organization in three months — after chronic technical issues that left uninsured residents unable to purchase insurance mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Plagued by technical issues, breakdowns in supervisory management and shoddy work by an outside vendor that received tens of millions of dollars in state funding, Cover Oregon, the state’s online health insurance exchange has been one of the worst in the country (Wilson, 3/20).

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