State Healthcare Exchange Websites in Dire Trouble

The federal government website is not the only website with major problems.

We now find that at least three of the state-run Obamacare exchange websites are in dire trouble and the Republicans are launching an investigation. Democrats are not happy. You would think Democrats would be keen to get things working, after all, they voted for the bill. What Democrats do want is to hide or ignore the problems.

The websites in trouble include Oregon, Maryland, and Massachusetts. According to “The Hill,” severe functional failures and staggering costs have been dumped into the taxpayer’s lap.

Republican House Energy and Commerce Committee members wrote to the Government Accountability Office, strongly demanding an investigation into the $304 million in federal grants Oregon received to fund its exchange.

Not one single person has been enrolled online in Oregon – not one!

The fiscal nightmare caused Oregon Rep. Greg Walden to say, “The catastrophic breakdown of Cover Oregon is unacceptable, and taxpayers deserve accountability.”

John Kitzhaber, the Governor of Oregon, a democrat, and an ardent Obama supporter, feels the state is making “progress” signing up citizens for the federal healthcare program.

Governor Kitzhaber’s definition of “progress” must be interesting, when nobody has yet enrolled using the website! Still, it is only a $300 million debacle, unlike the federal website’s waste.

Kitzhaber said, “Congress will do what Congress will do just so long as it does not slow down the process of getting Oregonians healthcare,” according to the story in The Hill. “Already more than 225,000 Oregonians have enrolled in quality, affordable coverage, including more than 35,000 in private insurance plans.”

They must have enrolled by phone or in person!

Kitzhaber’s office, keen to point the finger of blame somewhere else, blames the problems on “using large parts of the technology it purchased to calculate what people are eligible for, help them get access to financial assistance, and service their accounts.”

Oregon’s growing technology empire has been called “Silicon Forest.” According to what The Hill learned, nobody called to request support from the providers

To his credit, Governor Kitzhaber has called in Data One, a private company, to investigate what went wrong.

Meanwhile, Maryland’s healthcare exchange is hanging on by a thread. For months, state officials have been debating whether to abandon the state-run portal and adopt

Republicans want a federal investigation to be conducted.

Local Maryland politicians accuse state lawmakers and administration officials of ignoring warnings from appointed auditors who warned the website was not going to function properly and that it was not ready.

Instead of getting the problems fixed, due to political pressure emanating from the White House, the website was switched on and the failure has now amounted to millions of taxpayer dollars, similar to the Oregon fiasco.

Lawmakers also asked the Government Accountability Office to determine whether federal funds might be recouped on the project, according to The Hill.

Maryland Democratic Governor Martin O’Malley had no comment and did not return calls from The Hill.

Massachusetts’ healthcare exchange is also plagued by technical problems. According to the story in The Hill, Massachusetts currently has the worst enrollment percentage in the country. Either that must be excluding Oregon with their zero signups, or they are including paper signups too. That is a poor result, considering that Massachusetts had a working system before Obamacare forced its way into the

The Boston Globe has done extensive reporting on the roll out catastrophe and said Thursday that the state’s exchange director, Jean Yang, was actually in tears during a recent board meeting, as she was discussing the many problems the agency faces.

Yang said, “We have to work harder. That means I need to tell the staff members they’re not doing a good enough job and I’m telling them that, even though they have been doing this tirelessly for months, and they’re exhausted.”

No comment from the White House concerning the unfolding debacle in the three states.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr.
Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. He has written more than 3500 national political and foreign affairs columns. His BS in journalism from the University of Oregon, with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing.


Dwight has 30-years in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. His first book, "Redistribution of Common Sense - Selective Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014," was published in July, 2014. "The Game Changer - America's Most Stunning Presidential Election in History," was published in April 2017.


Dwight is a native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.