Oregon Promotes Obamacare, Enrolls No One

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Oregon, a State that spent $3.2 million on ads like this one to ensure its State-run Obamacare exchange would take off with willing customers, has yet to enroll a single living soul in any of its new coverage plans.

Cover Oregon, the State healthcare exchange, is blaming the stillborn launch on computer glitches — a problem that supposedly was confined to the Federal healthcare.gov website for non-participating States.

But Cover Oregon spokesperson Amy Fauver told NPR the disastrous rollout is forcing the program to beg would-be customers to line up in an email waiting queue:

We have on our website right now a place where people who just want to wait, who just want to do it electronically, can give us their e-mail address, and we will e-mail them when the system is fully functional.

Sure enough, the Cover Oregon website doesn’t even offer an option for online enrollment. The site invites residents to fill out a paper application and promises online enrollment is “coming soon.”

Like healthcare.gov, Cover Oregon is anticipating the enrollment glitches should be ironed out by the end of this month. That’s when the real fun begins, because the approximately 7,300 people who’ve attempted to apply for coverage will finally discover whether they’re eligible for the plans they want, as well as how much more they’ll have to pay.

Portland-based KATU News reported last week that residents whose existing plans were dropped because they don’t measure up to the new Obamacare policy mandates (like across-the-board maternity care) are facing extraordinary premiums for new, qualifying policies. One viewer said his new policy would cost him an additional $300 a month.

Another Oregon station, KVAL, reports premium costs will more than double for those who are still able to afford the coverage:

Independent insurance brokers like Skylar Jones of Eugene are waiting to hear from you.

He’s just set up a new venture called Oregon Covered.

“What we’re doing is we’re helping individuals,” Jones said. “We’re setting up enrollment meetings. We analyze their situation from start to finish.”

…He just hopes the promised [Obamacare] subsidies are enough to help his clients.

“In some of my individual clients we’re seeing 100 to 200 percent cost increases, and that causes some huge concerns for our individuals,” he said.

Oregon, of course, offers just one instance of an Obamacare nightmare scenario that’s beginning to play out in several States. All of this news comes at a time when President Barack Obama is walking back his unequivocal promises on how the Affordable Care Act will only help Americans who need insurance and not affect those who already have it.

Obama told a gaggle of Organizing for Action supporters Monday that he never promised everyone they could keep the insurance they were already happy with. According to Obama, what he really said was that “you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed.”

Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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