Oregon’s health insurance enrollment website was never launched to the general public. State officials have blamed Oracle, but the company says the state’s bad management is responsible.
In a letter to Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Gov. John Kitzhaber said he has fired state managers in charge of Cover Oregon, and now it’s time to hold accountable the website’s main technology contractor.
Oregon, once expected to be a national leader in the federal health care overhaul, on Thursday moved to become the first state to dump its troubled online health exchange and use the federal marketplace instead.
This assertion goes directly against what Oregon officials have told the public and independent investigators who reviewed the project: that Oracle was to blame because the tech giant’s staff regularly reassured the state that the portal was almost ready, asserting that the next release of the website would work.
Carolyn Lawson, the former chief information officer for the Oregon Health Authority, says managers at the Health Authority and the insurance exchange, known as Cover Oregon, “privately threatened and publicly scapegoated” her.
Oregon’s troubled health insurance exchange has been unable to sign up a single person through its online portal because of technical problems.
The governor said he won’t know who misled him about the website’s progress or what went wrong until he hears back from a technology firm he has hired to investigate.
Nearly four months after it was supposed to launch, Cover Oregon’s website still can’t enroll anyone from start to finish. The exchange has been using a backup paper and online process.
An analysis of new government figures by The Associated Press shows that Oregon is third from last when it comes to enrollments in private coverage when compared with 13 other states and the District of Columbia that built their own exchanges.
Rep. Dennis Richardson said Oregon should hand over its exchange to the federal government, which runs the operation for 36 other states,