Blame Game Escalates in Oregon ACA Debacle

By Tom Bacon

A squabble over who's to blame for a debacle in Oregon's attempted roll-out of the Affordable Care Act has led to a suit against the state filed by the software company, Oracle. Oracle has filed a damage suit against the state in Portland federal court, claiming breach of contract.

Among other things, the company claims the state is still using its software despite millions of dollars in disputed bills. Oracle also asserts that mis-management and infighting on the part of state officials assigned to get the insurance plan up and running are responsible for failure of "Cover Oregon."

On the other hand, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is pushing to sue Oracle and recover some of the $134-million the state paid the technology company. A spokeswoman for the governor dryly said the suit was no surprise. As she put it -"The state fully expected to end up in litigation over Oracle's failure to deliver."

Oregon's insurance coverage website was so inept that the state has reverted to using a federally-run website. At one point, health care purchasers were forced to use a combination paper and on-line process that was cumbersome and slow, and the state had to hire 400 extra people to help them.
Still, nearly half a million Oregonians have enrolled in coverage.

The intractable exchange problems have drawn attention from the FBI and the Government Accountability Office.
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