The top contractor at Oregon’s abandoned Obamacare exchange is claiming that it actually did succeed in building a functioning website — but the state’s Democratic governor killed it for political reasons.
Oregon was the first state to give up on fixing its $305 million Obamacare exchange, opting in April to hand the reins to the federal government and join HealthCare.gov. After the site crashed, Cover Oregon shifted to paper applications early in the open enrollment period and never launched a website that allowed customers to sign up for coverage online — but Oracle claims that it could have, KATU in Oregon reports.
“Cover Oregon executives have stated to Oracle that the application functionality is sufficient to support individual enrollment,” Safra Catz, Oracle’s president, wrote to Cover Oregon officials. “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.”
In a presentation to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Oracle claimed that Kitzhaber chose not to move forward with Oracle’s website for political reasons, not because the product didn’t work. (RELATED: Oregon Obamacare Collapse Will Force 80,000 To Re-enroll Next Year)
“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,” Oracle wrote. “The website was operational in February,” according to Oracle, but “the state of Oregon pulled the plug on it for political reasons. (RELATED: Oregon’s Obamacare exchange still in shambles)
Kitzhaber will face state Rep. Dennis Richardson in November’s election, which is likely to focus on Oregon’s spectacular Obamacare failure under Kitzhaber’s leadership. Kitzhaber has loudly blamed Oracle for the collapse of the state-run exchange, even calling for a lawsuit against the company.
“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 launch Oracle’s updates, Kitzhaber said in a statement late Sunday.
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. The General Accountability Office is also investigating into the state’s use of taxpayer funding.