PORTLAND -- Cover Oregon technology contractor Oracle fired back against accusations that the company was partially to blame for the failure of the state’s online health care exchange.
Oracle said it was never in charge of the project and all the blame fell squarely with the State of Oregon.
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber told a legislative technology committee Thursday that he ordered the attorney general to bring legal action against Oracle. Kitzhaber said that after spending more than $130 million with the company, he wanted to recover millions in tax money because Oracle failed to deliver a functional website.
The Cover Oregon website was suppose to launch last September but never worked properly.
In April, the state finally decided to scrap the exchange and replace it with the federal health exchange system.
Kitzhaber said Thursday that Oracle shared the blame for the site's failure and had to be held accountable.
“Oracle’s failure is unacceptable to Oregonians who need and deserve access to quality health care,” Kitzhaber said. "We were repeatedly assured that this project was going to launch on time."
Oracle fired back, saying the state, not Oracle, was in charge of the project and was to blame for the debacle.
“Contrary to the story the state is promoting, Oracle has never led the Oregon Health Exchange project. OHA and Cover Oregon were in charge and badly mismanaged the project by consistently failing to deliver requirements in a timely manner and failing to staff the project with skilled personnel,” the company said.
Kitzhaber said the state shared the blame. He said he had removed staff who failed to create a systems integrator position that would have overseen the implementation of the website.
Oracle, however, said the governor was playing politics.
“We understand the political nature of the announcement just made and that the governor wants to shift blame from where it belongs," the statement read. "We are proud of the work that we have done to enable over 420,000 Oregonians to enroll in health care. We look forward to an investigation that we are confident will completely exonerate Oracle.”
The FBI and House Government Accountability Office have begun looking into the Cover Oregon project, but no one yet has been charged with criminal wrongdoing.