Cover Oregon Board’s Shifting Schedule Shows Uncertainty During Critical Month

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This month is a critical moment for Cover Oregon.

Not only has the troubled exchange been given a one-month extension of open enrollment, its board of directors will also decide the exchange’s fate: whether to continue building its own exchange with a different IT contractor, dovetail on another state’s (such as Connecticut’s), or scrap the entire project and use the federal government’s exchange.

Cover Oregon’s board of directors is expected to make a decision during its April 10 meeting.

At least, that was the plan a couple weeks ago. When Cover Oregon originally posted its April board meeting schedule, there were supposed to be two meetings—one on April 2, and another on April 10.

But on Friday, the meetings page showed that the April 2 had been cancelled and would be rescheduled. The April 10 meeting was also cancelled.

On Monday, the page was changed to show the April 2 meeting had been rescheduled to April 10.

Ariane Holm, a spokesperson for Cover Oregon, would not explain the meeting schedule’s flux. She also would not respond to questions about why there were two board meetings originally scheduled or give any information on the topics to be discussed at each meeting

The April 10 meeting’s agenda is still blank, which is highly unusual—typically, the board’s meeting materials are complete when they’re posted.

And, the exchange’s IT problems have lately extended beyond its website.

After the Salem Statesman Journal revealed the exchange’s Legislative Oversight Committee had been meeting behind closed doors for the last 18 months, in possible violation of Oregon’s public records laws, its April 1 phone conference was made open to the public.

The public could call into the meeting via a call-in line.

But technical problems with the public line made it impossible for reporters to hear the meeting.

Once Cover Oregon staff realized that the public couldn’t listen in, the meeting ended, according to Cover Oregon spokesperson Ariane Holm.

Originally scheduled to last for 30 minutes, it lasted less than 15.

The rest of the meeting hasn’t been rescheduled.