Oracle: Oregon Governor Pulled Plug on Working Obamacare Site

Monday, 23 Jun 2014 10:55 PM

By Cathy Burke

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The software vendor for Oregon's scrapped Obamacare exchange reportedly says it built a working website but Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber dumped it for political reasons.

Portland television station KATU reports on a PowerPoint presentation officials from vendor Oracle used to brief members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week, and reports that the document said the site was fixed and ready for rollout in February but officials "would not permit it."

The House committee asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate Cover Oregon, which the state spent more than $200 million to build.

Oracle's presentation didn't say who in state government officially pulled the plug, but speculated, "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," KATU reports.

The governor's office responded that the decision was purely technical.

"After repeated testing from October 2013 to February 2014 and failures of the website to perform at minimal levels, Cover Oregon leadership, Cover Oregon's Board and Governor Kitzhaber made the decision [not to deploy the site]," it said, KATU reports.

Katzhaber called for a lawsuit against Oracle last month.

Oregon was the first state to scrap its $305 million Obamacare exchange, deciding in April to move to the federal website, HealthCare.gov.

The issue has taken a political tone, with Kitzhaber facing state Rep. Dennis Richardson in November's election, and the Cover Oregon failure coming during Kitzhaber's administration.

State officials at Cover Oregon are currently under FBI investigation for allegedly lying to federal officials about the website's progress during the Obama administration's check-ins with the state during the exchange's development.

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