Obama holds up Oregon as health care example

Obama holds up Oregon as health care example


by Pat Dooris, KGW Staff


Posted on October 21, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 22 at 9:38 AM

PORTLAND -- As President Obama defended the Affordable Care Act, he shined a bright light on Oregon’s efforts to enroll the poor in the plan through an expanded Medicaid program.

“So in Oregon, for example, that's helped cut the number of uninsured people by 10-percent just in the last three weeks. Think about that. That's 56-thousand more Americans who now have health care. That doesn’t depend on a website," the President said during a press conference Monday.

It's handy that it does not require a website since Oregon’s version, "Cover Oregon" is not working either.

More: Cover Oregon: How it works

The site exists but you cannot enroll online, which is the main reason it was built.

A spokesman said it does not correctly calculate tax credits for everyone who applies. It’s and issue that opponents such as conservative talk-show host Lars Larson hammer upon.

“No it’s not working at all!” Larson said when asked about the site.

There is concern that healthy, young adults needed to help pay for the system will go to either the federal or the state website, have a bad experience and never return.

Larson believes the problem runs deeper than that.

“I think it’s already crashing right now and it doesn’t matter. Say the website starts working perfectly tomorrow, that doesn’t matter. What matters is can you get enough people signed up to pay premiums who don’t need the health care right now. If you can’t do that the thing is going to be a financial train wreck."

A Cover Oregon spokesman said the site could be working by the end of the month.

“We don’t want to miss the opportunity to get those young folks. We want them, when they come to our site and start the process to be able to go all the way through without any problems,” said Michael Cox.

Complete coverage: Health care reform

Watch the President's full speech below