Oregon Scraps State-Run ObamaCare Site, Turns to Federal Web Site

Oregon officials announced on Friday that they were scrapping further attempts to fix their state-run ObamaCare web site, instead pointing health care enrollees to begin using the federal ObamaCare site.

Cover Oregon, as the state called their health care marketplace, cost taxpayers millions of dollars to develop.  However, the web site was so fraught with problems that the state was not able to sign up a single person for health care coverage under ObamaCare.

Cover Oregon’s board made the decision to turn to the federal ObamaCare web site, HealthCare.gov, on Thursday.  The board voted unanimously to cease further attempts at addressing the problems plaguing Cover Oregon.

The state had paid Oracle Corporation approximately $135 million to develop the Cover Oregon health care site.  Advisors estimated it would cost Oregon taxpayers an almost $80 million additional to resolve the numerous technical problems plaguing the web site.  Alternatively, Oregon could have enrollees begin using the federal ObamaCare web site for approximately $5 million.

“Using the federal technology represents the lowest-risk option,” noted Alex Pettit, the lead technology official involved in developed of the Oregon health care marketplace.

Oregon Representative Patrick Sheehan criticized Oregon leaders who squandered so much in taxpayer funds before seeing reason.

“I guess I am still saying ‘I told you so,’” said Sheehan.  “There is a culture of cover up that goes all the way up to the governor’s office.”

Sheehan noted that the Cover Oregon board had numerous chances to cut their losses sooner.  According to Sheehan, he did not understand why the state opted to develop its own web site to begin with, as other software was available at a far lower cost.

An investigation by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber confirmed missed opportunities by state leaders to realize the technical challenges facing the web site.  However, Governor Kitzhaber claims project managers running the development effort did not escalate concerns to his attention.

Demise of Oregon ObamaCare Site Ironic Given Initial Praise by Obama Administration

The ultimate demise of Cover Oregon is yet another example in the failures of ObamaCare web sites to meet sign-up goals toured by the Obama Administration.  Oregon’s web site, which did not enroll a single person in health care coverage, is especially ironic, since President Obama originally highlighted the develop of Oregon’s health care site as a success story.

In the end, Oregon’s web site became perhaps the least successful attempt by a state to develop its own site, as it was the only state web site that did not enroll anyone in ObamaCare health care plans.  And now, Oregon taxpayers may be stuck footing the bill.

Oregon imposed a 2.5 percent tax to help provide financing for the web site, in addition to federal grant money received by the state in the amount of approximately $300 million.  Now the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is investigating whether they can recoup some or all of that grant money because of mismanagement of those funds by the state.

Likewise, the state of Oregon is evaluating options for legal recourse against Oracle Corporation.

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by Mark Johnston

Mark has been a contributor to legal web sites related to bankruptcy, tax, and criminal law since 2011. He has an Accounting degree from Texas A&M University.