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C. Oregonians react to Cover Oregon move

Published On: Apr 26 2014 02:17:04 AM CDT   Updated On: Apr 26 2014 11:01:16 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Femi Abebefe caught up with Oregonians to hear their reaction to Cover Oregon being scrapped.

BEND, Ore. -

Oregon has become the first state to drop its online health exchange and switch to the federal website.

It seems as though Cover Oregon was plagued from Day 1. Only 65,000 Oregonians were able to sign up for coverage through the site, and officials said fixing it would have cost $78 million.

After receiving an initial $305 million grant to launch the system, the state chose Friday to cut their losses, and that had many of you talking.

"Think about $305 million down the drain,” Sam Whitman said.

“That's tough, because they were the first ones to say, 'We can do this on our own,'” Susan Mondry said.

“Sounds to me like it's kind of a big waste of money," Owen Dearing said.

After voting to ditch the program Friday, Oregon will now use for private policies.

One man in Bend said he would have liked to see the state stick it out and finish what they started.

"I have a dear friend that just signed up (though) Cover Oregon, and the coverage is very good,” Ross McKillop said. “I'm sorry to see that they're going to have to go through all that mess again to get on the other plan. It doesn't seem quite right."

We caught up with a Bend woman who was one of the 65,000 who was able to successfully sign up for coverage using the system.

"Thing is I did (sign up through) Cover Oregon, but back about a month ago,” Anna Farinha said. “They told me that I still had coverage, but only to be seen in the emergency room."

With $305 million spent on the failed site, it has some wondering what that money could have gone to.

"That is frustrating, because I just retired from teaching, and I know all the public programs that could utilize any of those monies and services,” Mondry said. “It's disappointing."

One of those programs is food stamps.

"The food stamp money got cut almost in half, and it could have gone to feed people,” Whitman said. “Instead. it went down the drain."

For now, Oregonians will have to rely on the federal website for coverage, but one citizen said he'd like to see a similar health care system to our neighbors to the north.

"As a Canadian citizen who's lived in Oregon for 25 plus years, I’m extremely hopeful that the United States will go to a more universal health care system overall," Dearing said.

Cover Oregon leaders are expected to meet with the agency leading the federal enrollment website Monday or Tuesday. Officials said the switch will cost $4 million to $6 million.


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