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Government and Politics
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Lawmakers To Grill Leaders Of Beleaguered Health Insurance Exchange

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Cover Oregon
Oregon's health insurance exchange has yet to enroll a single applicant through its website.

Oregon lawmakers want to know why the state's beleaguered health insurance exchange has yet to enroll a single applicant through its website.

The head of Cover Oregon will face scrutiny during a pair of hearings Wednesday at the state capitol.

Most Oregonians first heard about Cover Oregon when the agency rolled out a series of upbeat commercials last summer. But that peppy optimism quickly gave way to bureaucratic backpedaling, as it became clear the online health insurance sign-up website wasn't ready.

The state assigned hundreds of employees to process paper applications. But Oregon lawmakers want to know how things got to this point.

"We've heard a lot about their hopes and their dreams and what they expect to do," says Democratic representative and House Committee on Health Care Chair Mitch Greenlick. "But I really want them to give us, even if it's bad news, to give us a straight story on where we are and what's happening."

But Greenlick says for now, he doesn't think it's a good idea for the head of Cover Oregon, Rocky King, to lose his job. Greenlick says switching leadership at this point would simply cause even more problems.