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The billboards and ads are eye-catching, and they paint a utopian picture of health care and wellness now available in Oregon at the behest of benevolent big government. Never mind the facts showing recipients of government health care, (Medicaid) have no significantly better health outcomes than those without insurance, they're going to sell you the dream regardless.
Some estimate as much as $28 million will be spent on feel good songs and other advertising to convince people to enroll in "Cover Oregon." Except, so far, you can't enroll in private insurance at all.
The reality is, that one month after the health care exchange was to be rolled out in Oregon, not a single person has signed up through the private marketplace. You read that correctly - not one.
The bureaucrats who believe they always know best have spent over $300 million on a website that doesn't work, to enroll no one for private insurance. Since the website is such an abject failure, the state will need to spend more money hiring 400 people to process paper applications. It's like an episode of Portlandia, except it's real life.
Will these incoming applications be for private insurance? No. So far the only applications sent out are for approximately 260,000 Oregonians who receive public benefits and would be eligible for Medicaid. Where will the state get the funds to expand these benefits?
Last year, State Representative Jim Weidner expressed concerns on the House floor over the the implementation of the "Oregon HealthCare Transformation" project, citing huge budget shortfalls, lack of oversight and the increased demands on an already burdened welfare system.
As federal dollars dwindle in the upcoming years, Oregon and every other state which expanded Medicaid are going to come to terms with increasingly difficult budget shortfalls. Did President Obama ever sell his signature health care law as a massive expansion of the welfare state? No, he didn't, but in states like Oregon, that's exactly what it is. He sold the "Affordable Care Act" to the American people with the lie that people could keep their coverage. He also repeatedly stated the marketplaces would offer ample choice, driving costs down. The reality is that in many counties, there will be fewer than two insurance companies competing in the exchanges, driving costs up even more.
Tough choices will have to be made soon in these state legislatures. They cannot print money like the federal government can. You'll likely be told once again by technocrats that due to increased demand, there isn't enough money to educate your children, or pay for other essential services like fire and police. When those politicians come to you demanding that you turn over more of your hard earned money to the government, remind them what they spent to advertise a program that doesn't deliver on its promises and on a website that doesn't work.
What Americans were sold is not what they're receiving. Is there no truth in advertising for the government? Apparently not. This is fraud. We should call it as much.
Photo credit: CoverOregon.com