Walden on Cover Oregon Debacle: “Taxpayers deserve answers, and those in charge… need to be held accountable.”

June 23, 2014

House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders in February called on the Government Accountability Office to investigate the complete failure of Oregon’s online health care exchange. Oregon was awarded more than $300 million in grants to build a website that has never launched. Oregon has since decided to abandon the website that took years and hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to build and transition to the federal exchange, yet serious questions remain regarding what went wrong, the cost of this decision to the taxpayer, and who is ultimately responsible. A presentation prepared by Oracle claims, “the website was operational in February, but that the state of Oregon pulled the plug on it for political reasons,” reports Portland-based KATU. Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) commented to KATU, “Taxpayers deserve answers, and those in charge of this expensive boondoggle need to be held accountable.”

The GAO accepted the committee’s request in March and the committee’s oversight of the president’s health care law has continued. Committee leaders recently sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services regarding several of the failed state health care exchanges, including Oregon, that in total received more than $1 billion in taxpayer funds. 

June 22, 2014

Oracle: Cover Oregon Website Worked, But Plug Pulled for Political Reasons

PORTLAND, Ore. – Did the Cover Oregon website work, after all?

Software vendor Oracle provided information last week to the U.S. House and Energy Committee claiming the website was operational in February, but that the state of Oregon pulled the plug on it for political reasons. 

The On Your Side Investigators obtained a copy of the Power Point presentation, which alleges the state deliberately distorted the case for abandoning the Cover Oregon website in favor of transitioning to the federal exchange. 

“Cover Oregon executives have stated to Oracle that the application functionality is sufficient to support individual enrollment,” Oracle president Safra Catz wrote in a letter addressed to Cover Oregon interim director Clyde Hamstreet and state CIO Alex Pettit. “However, Cover Oregon has not agreed to give individuals direct access to the application. Thus Cover Oregon, not Oracle, made the decision to keep the exchange closed to individuals even though the functionality has been delivered by Oracle.” 

The presentation was delivered to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, which requested the federal investigation that is currently underway by the Government Accountability Office. 

In its presentation to the House committee, Oracle claims an analysis of the website by one of its competitors, Deloitte, overestimated the time and money required to finish the website. Deloitte concluded it would cost $78 million to finish the job, or $5 million to move to the federal exchange. 

“Deloitte’s analysis ignores the fact that the system is ready for release, and has been since February 2014,” Oracle’s presentation reads. “Deloitte’s estimate to complete the existing exchange is grossly inflated and appears to be based, at least in part, on Deloitte’s lack of experience with certain functional areas and their desire to replace those portions of the existing system with their own custom approach.”

Oracle’s presentation does not specify who in state government officially pulled the plug on the Cover Oregon website but speculates its functionality was kept from the public for political gain.

“Oracle can only conclude that the Governor’s unwillingness to release the website is because doing so doesn’t fit with his re-election strategy of blaming Oracle for his own mistakes,” the presentation reads. …

Read the article and watch the corresponding video online HERE