Battered by controversy, its vision in doubt, the board of Cover Oregon will meet today and tomorrow to start planning its future.
The board will report to the Legislature in September on whether the bureaucracy set up to operate Oregon's health insurance exchange should remain a stand-alone public corporation or other agency, and if so how board members should govern it.
Originally board members had contemplated a two-day retreat to tackle these questions. But now the event is structured as a series of meetings. The planning sessions that start tonight can't be live-streamed as typical board meetings are, though the public can dial in on a conference call.
Originally set up as a state-based exchange, the exchange's future has gotten more complicated after its two-year technology project failed to produce a fully functional website, despite $250 million spent. The board in April voted to use the federal exchange to enroll Oregonians in private health insurance for the next open enrollment, which begins Nov. 15.
At that point, the Oregon Health Authority will take over enrollment in the Medicaid-funded Oregon Health Plan, leaving board members to focus on what's left. Cover Oregon will still operate a gateway website to Healthcare.gov as well as oversee consumer education and outreach. It also will certify health plans before they can be offered on the exchange.
At 3p.m. the board will hold its regular meeting at the Grand Hotel Bridgeport, at 7265 Hazelfern Rd. in Tigard. New executive director, Aaron Patnode will be formally introduced and staff will update the board on technology, operations and finances. A public comment period is scheduled for 4:50p.m, and the meeting can be watched online.
Then the board will meet again, starting with dinner at 5:30p.m. The first hour, consisting of dinner, will not be live-streamed or be available by the conference line. Board members will discuss objectives of the planning session.
The planning session will continue Tuesday from 8:30a.m. to 5p.m at the Oregon Medical Association building, 11740 SW 68th Parkway in Portland.
©2014 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)