Policy: Technology

Oregon signs up just 44 people for Obamacare despite spending $300 million

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Beltway Confidential,Philip Klein,Obamacare,Health and Human Services,Oregon,Healthcare.gov,Technology,Health Care Exchanges

Oregon, once touted as a model for President Obama's health care law, signed up just 44 people for insurance through November, despite spending more than $300 million on its state-based exchange.

The state’s exchange had the fewest sign-ups in the nation, according to a new report today by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The weak number of sign-ups undercuts two major defenses of Obamacare from its supporters.

One defense was that state-based exchanges were performing a lot better than the federal healthcare.gov website servicing 36 states. But Oregon's website problems have forced the state to rely on paper applications to sign up participants.

Another defense of the Obama administration has attributed the troubled rollout of Obamacare to the obstruction of Republican governors who wanted to see the law fail as well as a lack of funding.

But Oregon is a Democratic state that embraced Obamacare early and enthusiastically. Its outreach effort, which included a folk-style music video featuring a singer playing an acoustic guitar against a colorful and scenic backdrop, had been praised among the law's supporters.

And the more than $300 million in federal grant money the state received to build and promote its exchange topped all but two other states - the much more populous New York and California.

Health insurance enrollment report

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