BEND, OR -- Representative and Oregon Gubernatorial Candidate Knute Buehler has sent a letter to Governor Kate Brown asking her to join him in getting to the bottom of the Oregon Health Authority's money problems.
Representative Buehler says Oregon used to have a proud tradition of innovation and bipartisanship when it came to health care, but on Governor Brown's watch, the Oregon Health Authority has wasted a tremendous amount of money. "The first thing we want to accomplish is, if the $74 million was paid inappropriately, we need to get it back to Oregon taxpayers as soon as possible. And she seems to want to ignore that, doesn't want to take responsibility for it, and it's really occurred under her watch, and we need to know, as legislators and the public, why that money hasn't returned to the State of Oregon."
According to Buehler, repair and renewal is needed in Oregon's Health care programs, and Governor Brown's office has shown no interest in getting the wasted funds back to taxpayers. "We propose an Independent Council to look into if this money is truly unaccounted for and paid inappropriately, and if it has, the Governor needs to demand that it's paid back, and if she's not willing to do that, I will try to pass legislation in the 2018 session to legally require the repayment from these providers."
One of the worse parts of this scandal, Buehler says, is that the Oregon Health Authority and Medicaid have wasted hundreds of millions of dollars that, now, isn't available to provide health care or promote better health for Oregonians. He reveals that the problems with the Oregon Health Authority were actually made public by the OHA itself, with Governor Brown's office keeping silent at the time, and still refusing to get involved. "So far, we're being ignored by the Governor's office, and it's astounding to me because we've already had the Cover Oregon fiasco, where $300 million in websites, computers, and failed enrollment technology went right down the drains, so it is hundreds of millions of dollars wasted through this state agency and I just find it unacceptable."
Buehler contends that Brown knows the details concerning the missing and wasted funds, or if she doesn't, she should be trying to learn them, and then share them with Oregon taxpayers, while working to return their money. He acknowledges that the problems with the Oregon Health Plan, Medicare, and Medicaid started while John Kitzhaber was Governor, but Brown was Secretary of State, and as such, was responsible for auditing government programs, which he claims she failed to do.