SALEM -- The U.S. Government and Accountability Office confirmed Wednesday that it will be investigating Oregon's struggling online health care exchange, Cover Oregon.
In a letter addressed to Congressman Fred Upton R-Mich., the GAO said it had accepted Upton's request to investigate Cover Oregon and would fold it into a broader examination it planned to do for other state health care exchanges and the healthcare.gov rollout.
On Feb. 14, Rep. Upton, along with Oregon Republican Greg Walden, Tim Murphy, R-Penn. and Joe Pitts, R-Penn., requested that the GAO look into Cover Oregon.
"The catastrophic breakdown of Cover Oregon is unacceptable, and taxpayers deserve accountability," Walden and the others wrote in a letter to the U.S. GAO.
On Monday, Gov. John Kitzhaber said he doubted the ability of Cover Oregon to get its website CoverOregon.org fully functioning before the March 31 deadline for people to sign up for insurance under the federal health care law. The website was supposed to be ready on Oct. 1 but for months, applicants to the program have needed to apply using paper forms.
That same day, Cover Oregon said it was essentially firing its main technology contractor Oracle and had agreed to pay $44 million of the nearly $70 million it was withholding. Cover Oregon said it will continue to withhold $25.6 million that Oracle Corp. has billed for technology development work from September 2013 through Feb. 28, 2014.