Oregon: Our Progressive Future of Corrupt Government and Oblivious Voters
Greetings from Portland, Oregon — the state with the most egregiously failing Obamacare exchange in the country, now set to reelect the governor whose administration oversaw that disaster and wasted all that money.
Okay, the CBS News/New York Times poll, conducted from September 20 to October 1, has Governor John Kitzhaber only up by 7 points against Republican Dennis Richardson. So it’s not a rout, and it’s not a slam-dunk. But Kitzhaber’s heavily favored.
Richardson is now focusing heavily on the scandals surrounding Oregon’s “First Lady”, the governor’s fiancée, Cylvia Hayes.
The Oregon Republican Party filed a state ethics complaint on Wednesday naming Gov. John Kitzhaber, his fiancée Cylvia Hayes and his political consultant Patricia McCaig.
It’s the second complaint filed with the Oregon Government Ethics Commission this week naming Kitzhaber and Hayes.
The governor made his own request on Monday, asking the commission for advice on whether the first lady is considered a “public official” and subject to state ethics laws. He also asked for guidance on whether Hayes’ private consulting work conflicted with her role as the first lady and self-described advisor to the governor.
In addition, Hayes admitted in recent days that she married an immigrant as part of a visa-fraud scheme in 1997 and had a role in an illegal marijuana-growing operation around that same time.
Richardson probably has to try to make the most of the stories surrounding Hayes, as it’s undoubtedly the biggest news to come out of the Oregon governor’s mansion in years. But the more salacious aspects probably generate some sympathy for Governor Kitzhaber; his fiancée hid a criminal past from him.
But it seems like relatively small potatoes compared to a state-exchange site that never worked properly, never enrolled a single citizen online (everything had to be done with pen and paper), and cost, oh, $305 million.
And the bad news for Oregon’s attempt at health insurance just keeps piling up.
A Klamath Falls woman who applied for health coverage through Cover Oregon says the insurance exchange mailed her the personal information of other applicants.
Ann Migliaccio told The Associated Press that she received documents last week containing the names and birth dates of two applicants from Hillsboro. She says the documents did not include Social Security numbers.
This is the 18th low-level security breach in the past six months, Cover Oregon officials said. They say the information inadvertently shared in these breaches included addresses, names, dates of birth and internal Cover Oregon IDs, but no Social Security numbers.
And piling up:
More than 12,000 people who purchased policies through Cover Oregon could owe money at tax time because of errors in tax credits issued by the health exchange.
The figure is updated from an estimate of about 800 people that exchange officials shared with the Legislature last month, only to realize they’d got it wrong.
A more recent internal staff estimate released under Oregon Public Records Law found errors in 12,772 policies, or 38 percent of those who received tax credits.
Portland intrigues me. If you are one of those despairing conservatives who think that the United States of America is caught in an inescapable whirlpool of progressive-driven decline, our future is probably going to look something like Portland.
And at first glance — or at least a visit — the progressive utopia of Portland has its upsides. The ludicrously restrictive zoning laws kept farmland close to the city, so there’s always plenty of locally grown food, produce, and so on for the run-amok foodie culture. There’s plenty of green space and parks. (Our old friend Mark Hemingway wrote one of the definitive takedowns of modern Portland.)
But the upshot of Oregon’s failed insurance exchange, and the seeming lack of any lasting public outrage, is the confirmation that a key element of modern progressivism is never, ever, ever getting upset about government spending if it’s done with the right intentions.
What’s revealing is how “progressive” does not necessarily mean “follows politics or news coverage of government at any level.” There’s a lot of “set it and forget it” Leftism going around. Because you would figure that any self-designated True Believer in the Power of Government to Improve People’s Lives would be breathing fire over something like this. Because all Cover Oregon’s debacle did was make a lot of money for Oracle, and whoever got the contract for those silly singing television commercials. Think about it — big, incompetent government, paying a fortune to a big, incompetent or insufficiently-competent corporate contractor, and most of the lefties in Oregon yawn or just shake their head in mild disapproval.
The formula here — a governing class, cozy with certain big, corporate contractors, coupled with a tuned-out electorate that reflexively elects and reelects the proper names from the progressive class — turns representative government into a giant con. The funny thing is that the stereotypical leftist from, say, the 1960s was extremely suspicious of the government, but that suspicion focused upon the military, the “military-industrial complex”, the intelligence agencies, the police . . . the spiritual and ideological children of those 1960s liberals walk around with enormous faith that the government knows what it is doing and it can be trusted with ever-more amounts of tax money.
Isn’t there any suspicion left over for state health and human services and insurance administrators? Any anger to spare for governors remaining oblivious at best to serious problems within their administration?
Some of these folks can summon skepticism about childhood vaccines, but not the Obamacare insurance mandate.