Oregon health exchange chief gets heat

Board tells director to come up with target dates Friday for fixing Cover Oregon problems

PORTLAND — The board of Oregon's health insurance exchange has put its executive director on notice, demanding to know when the website will work and how Cover Oregon will get people enrolled by the end of the year. Board members held an executive session Thursday to discuss Rocky King's performance and then passed resolutions calling for new target dates by next Friday, The Oregonian reported.

The online exchange has been plagued by technical problems since its launch and has not enrolled a single person.

Members of the board criticized the shifting timelines on the project. The state had at first promised a fix by the end of October. But later, Gov. John Kitzhaber said the website may not be fixed before Dec. 31.

Officials are now urging people to fill out a 19-page paper application or an online PDF and are hand-processing those applications. Oregonians who qualify for a subsidy must enroll through Cover Oregon by a Dec. 15 deadline in order to have coverage effective Jan. 1.

King says the staff is making progress and is optimistic about solving the problems. He also said he has asked the federal government for seven people to help get the website operational, but none have been provided so far.

King said the board's questions will be answered, and he and his staff haven't been withholding any information.

The board also expressed mistrust of the state's technology contractor, asking Oracle Vice President Tom Budnar to answer for a record of missed deadlines.

Budnar said a "SWAT team" and additional people have been brought in to fix the site so Oregonians are able to enroll by the end of December.

The board will hold a meeting on Dec. 2 to discuss the new plans and target dates submitted by King.

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