Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat, walked out of an interview at the urging of a staff member, when asked about the state’s poor health online exchange that has even underperformed the federal Healthcare.gov exchange.
Though not necessarily in an abrupt or confrontational matter, KATU News reports that the interview had been preschedule for some time, and was halted just under four minutes.
The governor’s office later told the station they wanted to be sure Kitzhaber stayed on schedule.
KATU News reports that not a single person has enrolled in the state exchange online since it began in October 2012. The state has managed to sign residents up for Obamacare health plans through paper applications and over the phone.
Kitzhaber actually told the station, Cover Oregon is outperforming expectations, citing 114,000 enrollees. “We figured that this would be a two-year process,” Kitzhaber said. “What we didn’t anticipate was actually this many (people enrolling).”
It’s when questions about e-mails that flagged problems to the website came to his office that a staff member intervened.
“It had (the email) come to my office, but I didn’t see it,” Kitzhaber said.
Carolyn Lawson, the state’s Chief Information Officer was responsible for the Cover Oregon’s website’s technical development. After the problems, she resigned for “personal reasons” in November. The governor told the station was unaware of problems with Lawson until late last year.
“In late October was when I first learned about the problems,” Kitzhaber said.
The station reports that in December 2010, state Rep. Patrick Sheehan e-mailed the governor warning about problems with the website and with Lawson.
Here’s the full interview with Gov. Kitzabber:
Here is the KATU news story: