KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Exchange Fixes Readied In Oregon, Massachusetts and Minnesota

Officials with Oregon's exchange say they will choose between repairing the existing system or going to the federal exchange by month's end. In Massachusetts, an executive appointed by Gov. Deval Patrick to fix the problems says she will make recommendations by next month and in Minnesota, Deloitte Consulting has a pending deal to fix that state's exchange.

The Associated Press: Cover Oregon Narrows Exchange Future To Two Options
Officials with Oregon’s troubled health insurance exchange say they’ve narrowed the options for the site’s future to two: switching to the federal exchange, or staying with the current technology and hiring a new contractor to fix it. Cover Oregon’s interim chief information officer Alex Pettit told board members Thursday that a third option -- transferring technology from another state -- would be too expensive and take too long (4/10).

The Oregonian: Cover Oregon: Board Hires 'Turnaround' Expert, Narrows Technology Options
Portland corporate turnaround expert Clyde Hamstreet agreed Thursday to what may be his most challenging assignment: helping solve Cover Oregon's health exchange mess in just a month. Hired Thursday by Cover Oregon's board of directors, Hamstreet takes the helm of an organization facing daunting technological, legal and financial issues. It has just seven months to produce a functional health exchange, something the state has been unable to do in the prior two years despite spending more than $200 million (Manning, 4/10).

The Oregonian: Cover Oregon Health Insurance Exchange: Fix It Or Go Federal, Officials Say
A Cover Oregon advisory committee has narrowed options for whether to scrap or salvage the troubled health insurance exchange, officials announced Thursday. By the end of April the Cover Oregon board will choose between either fixing its existing technology with a new development plan, or going to the federal exchange. The decision had been expected, but now is official. And time is short (Budnick, 4/10).

The Associated Press: Fix for Health Care Website Still Months Away
The board overseeing the Massachusetts’s health care exchange has been told that a long-term fix for the connector's troubled website is still months away, even while the state is reporting progress in clearing the backlog of applicants for subsidized insurance. Sarah Iselin, the health care executive tapped by Gov. Deval Patrick to oversee a solution to the website issues, said she will present the board with recommendations next month for how to achieve a functional system by the next open federal enrollment period that is scheduled to begin Nov. 15 (4/11).

The Star Tribune: Deloitte In Line For MNsure Repair Work
Deloitte Consulting has agreed to general contract terms to help MNsure begin fixing underlying issues with its massive computer system, people with knowledge of the bidding process confirmed Thursday. The agreement is pending, based on federal approval and a more detailed contract that would solidify the scope of the work. Deloitte has built some of the most successful state-based insurance exchanges in Connecticut, Kentucky, Rhode Island and Washington (Crosby and Meitrodt, 4/11).

The Star Tribune: Wider, Deeper MNsure Audit Wins Approval
Legislative Auditor James Nobles won lawmakers’ backing Wednesday for a wider investigation of what led to the troubled rollout of the MNsure health insurance exchange. Nobles said the effort will be extensive and lengthy, and he predicted it won’t be finished and made public until December. “It is going to be broad. It is going to be deep,” Nobles said (Meitrodt, 4/10).

In other news related to the health law's implementation -

Fox News: IRS Prepares To Go After ObamaCare Mandate Fines
With the ObamaCare enrollment deadline in the rearview for most, the IRS is preparing for the next step -- tracking and penalizing those who choose not, or cannot afford, to buy approved health insurance.  How aggressive the agency will be in pursuing those fines, though, is an open question. The IRS already is under fire over last year's political targeting scandal and talk of harsh fines on the millions who still do not have insurance is a touchy subject in an election year (4/10).

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