Walden calls on federal investigation into 'Cover Oregon'

, Written by Kyle Aevermann, Posted: Thu, February 13 2014 at 6:44 PM, Updated: Thu, February 13 2014 at 11:54 PM

Medford, Ore. -- After failing to sign anyone up through the state run health insurance exchange known as 'Cover Oregon, US Representative Greg Walden called for a federal investigation into the website.

Oregon was one of the first states to receive federal funding, 304 million dollars in total, to create an online insurance exchange, but the 'Cover Oregon' portal still has yet to successfully enroll one single person in health care coverage.
"Oregonian's deserve accountability, they deserve answers, and it's time to pull the covers back on 'Cover Oregon' and get them," said US Representative Greg Walden.

Walden and State Representative Dennis Richardson, from Central Point, are angry and frustrated with the health care website.

"I and other top leaders of the house energy and commerce committee have requested the Government Accountability Office (G.A.O.) open a federal investigation into the failures of 'Cover Oregon,'" Walden said in a press conference Thursday.

One of the key issues they want the non-partisan G.A.O. to look into is why the exchange hasn't enrolled a single person through the portal since it launched in October of 2013.

State Representative Dennis Richardson, who is also running for governor, says he had reservations with the Oregon Health Authority's request for federal grants from the beginning.

"I said that at first we could not accept that because the   experience that the state of oregon has had in running I.T. projects has been one failure after another," Richardson explained.

Months after the state accepted the funds, Richardson says red flags started popping up, after a quality insurance team was hired.

"The team did it's job. They were warned every month, to the greatest extent possible, as to whether or not the project was moving forward and if not, where the problems were and they ignored it," Richardson explained.

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has acknowledged the site's failures.

On Wednesday, he told KGW in Portland that he was told those problems were addressed.

"We are told the specific concerns have been investigated had been reviewed and had been addressed..." Kitzhaber said.

"Obviously we were not getting good information, I think a lot of people were not getting good information, and no one is more disturbed about that than I am."

Nevertheless, Walden and Richardson want answers and they're taking steps to get them.

5,000 Oregonian's have already signed a petition supporting a federal investigation by the G.A.O.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Kyle Aevermann

Kyle Aevermann reports weekdays and anchors NBC 5 News Weekends. He joined NBC 5 News in March 2012 as a morning producer and reporter. Prior to joining KOBI, Kyle interned at KISL-FM on Catalina Island, CA. He was also a regular contributor to CNN's citizen journalism program.

Originally from the Chicago-land area, Kyle moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2009 to work in the social media industry. Kyle enjoys hiking, traveling, learning about cultures, and has a serious love for food.

Catch Kyle anchoring weekends on NBC 5 News at 6pm and 11pm.

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