The Cover Oregon board of directors originally said it wanted to keep Cover Oregon going. Governor John Kitzhaber wants it disbanded and its responsibilities transferred to the Oregon Health Authority and to the Oregon Insurance Division.
It was a potential — and maybe embarrassing to the governor — political conflict.
To keep the governor — who is now plagued by a controversy over his first lady’s financial dealings from his office — from further political embarrassment, the board last week decided to follow his recommendation and recommend that the Oregon Legislature make a disbandment official when it goes into session in January.
Last week’s announcement took everyone by surprise. Even more of a surprise was no public discussion. It was thought the board would push for a hybrid operation where it was involved in the state’s health insurance decisions.
The board opened the meeting with the decision. It was not on the agenda. And there was no discussion. A motion was made, the board voted and the decision was made.
Board Chairwoman Liz Baxter said it was felt the state’s exchange needs to be focused on open enrollment that begins on November 15th. Plus, legislators tended to agree with the governor and it was felt the Legislature would take that course of action anyway.