The Campaign Spot

The Worst Exchange in the Country . . . a Reelection Non-Factor?

The governor of the state with the most dysfunctional health insurance exchange in the country remains a strong favorite for reelection.

In Oregon, the state exchange still couldn’t enroll anyone online at the end of December. The state is relying entirely on paper applications and had to hire an additional 400 workers to process them. Some patients scheduled to go on dialysis next month are still waiting for answers from the exchange about what plans are available. The advertising campaign, directing people to the dysfunctional web site, was pulled down after spending $21 million. The exchange’s board extended a deadline by a week, announcing the decision one hour before the deadline. The $178,992-per-year chief information officer, who helped design the $160 million site, resigned for “personal reasons” earlier this month . . . citing the death of her mother-in-law. This CIO lived in Sacramento, California. Rocky King, the state exchange’s director, resigned for “health reasons.” (Hopefully he won’t have to rely on the exchange to get insurance in whatever new job he starts.)

The term “fiasco” and “disaster” are thrown around without dispute. Clearly, this would be a serious problem for the reelection prospects of Governor John Kitzhaber, seeking his fourth (non-consecutive) term, right?

Nope.

Elizabeth Hovde, columnist for The Oregonian, wrote Sunday that Kitzhaber

is strongly favored to win re-election for good reason: Credible candidates from his own party won’t get in the way, and the last time Kitzhaber ran, he beat former Trail Blazer Chris Dudley — a good Republican option in a state that sees blue. . . . I’m guessing Kitzhaber will be at the helm through 2018, if for no other reason than there will be a “D” next to his name.

Republicans do have two declared candidates, state representative Dennis Richardson and Jon L. Justesen.

If the worst-run, most expensive, most wasteful, over-promised, under-delivered program in the entire nation isn’t enough to get voters to reconsider whether you deserve another term . . . what possibly could?

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