SALEM, Ore. -- Gov. John Kitzhaber has spent at least a decade trying to drive politics out of health care reform, and he successfully drew bipartisan support for an ambitious plan to redesign the system serving poor people on Medicaid.
The failure of Cover Oregon's website, however, has unraveled that bipartisan spirit and brought a piece of the bitter national health care debate to Oregon.
If he's re-elected, Kitzhaber faces the daunting task of keeping his vision on track after a divisive election season that's likely to focus on health care.
Health care executives, lawmakers, state officials and others involved in remaking Oregon's system insist the rising partisanship surrounding the state's troubled insurance exchange will fade after the election and won't derail Kitzhaber's other efforts to remake the health care system.