With Feds Taking Over State’s Exchanges, Look Back at Oregon’s Psychedelic Obamacare Ads

On Thursday, The Washington Post’s Amy Goldstein reported that the federal government had concluded that Oregon’s state-run insurance marketplace is too broken to continue to operate under the control of the state government. Sources told her that the federal government was preparing to take control over Oregon’s exchanges.

The board which oversees Cover Oregon is expected to vote on Friday on a measure which would cede control over the Affordable Care Act’s state exchanges to the federal government. However, the report indicates that the both the administration and Oregon officials have already agreed that the state-level exchanges must be transferred to federal control.

Goldstein noted that Oregon’s state exchange is the “only one to fail so spectacularly that no residents have been able to sign up for coverage online since it opened early last fall.”

The Post added that it would cost the state between $4 and $6 million to move Cover Oregon’s exchanges into the federal insurance marketplace. But that is only a fraction of the $10 million the federal government awarded Oregon to promote those exchanges in what some mocked as the least informative but most trippy health insurance ads associated with the ACA.

“Each logger, and lawyer, and stay-at-home dad; every baker, and banker, and indie rock band; each student, and teacher, and neighbor, and friend will live long in Oregon,” sang folk artist Laura Gibson in a 60-second spot touting the benefits of health insurance.

An R&B themed Cover Oregon web-ad repeats the refrain “live your life,” and notes the benefits associated with being alive in order to entice Oregonians to take a look at the exchanges.

But the most compelling and psychedelic of Cover Oregon’s ads has to be Dave Depper’s “Fly with Your Own Wings.”

Described by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) as a video which “features what appears to be Gumby riding on the Beatles’ yellow submarine,” this 30-second ad asserts that the state’s residents are “free to be healthy.”

“For Oregon, one important unresolved question is whether people who have just chosen health plans through Cover Oregon will need to sign up a second time in the federal system for their new coverage to continue beyond this year,” Goldstein’s report concludes.

It’s doubtful that many of Oregon’s residents will be singing the program’s praises when they are forced to navigate a health insurance exchange once again.


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An experienced broadcaster and columnist, Noah Rothman has been providing political opinion and analysis to a variety of media outlets since 2010. His work has appeared in a number of political opinion journals, and he has shared his insights with television and radio personalities across the country.