Company moved against state two weeks ago

Oregon filed a lawsuit Friday against Oracle America, as expected, in connection with the state’s botched website for enrollment in its health insurance exchange.

Oracle, based in Redwood City, Calif., sued Oregon two weeks ago.

The state’s suit, filed by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum in Marion County Circuit Court, seeks $200 million in damages. from Oracle. It alleges false statements by Oracle executives and false claims by the company.

“Today’s lawsuit clearly explains how egregiously Oracle has disserved Oregonians and our state agencies,” Rosenblum says in a statement.

“Over the course of our investigation, it became abundantly clear that Oracle repeatedly lied and defrauded the state. Through this legal action, we intend to make our state whole, and make sure taxpayers aren’t left holding the bag.”

The state suit was filed about three months after Gov. John Kitzhaber called on the attorney general to pursue a lawsuit against Oracle, the prime contractor on the website for Cover Oregon, the state’s health insurance exchange.

The website never enrolled anyone directly in private insurance plans or the Oregon Health Plan, state-supported coverage for low-income people. The rolls have grown by 454,500 between Oct. 1 and March 31 — 97,000 in private plans, the rest in the Oregon Health Plan — but 400 workers had to be hired to enroll the recipients.

The website’s failure has been a major political liability for Kitzhaber, a Democrat seeking a fourth nonconsecutive term against Republican rival Dennis Richardson, a five-term state representative who has made it a central attack point.

Kitzhaber said in a statement after the lawsuit was filed:

“Today, after months of investigation, the attorney general’s findings go well beyond disappointing and incomplete work. The complaint filed contains serious new allegations of fraud, deceit, and corruption by Oracle. The details of the complaint, including the admissions of former Oracle employees, are appalling to me.”

Although Oracle did not immediately respond to the state lawsuit, the company said on May 29, after Kitzhaber called for state action: “We understand the political nature of the announcement just made and that the governor wants to shift blame from where it belongs.”

Kitzhaber made that statement during a legislative committee hearing at which Richardson directly questioned him.

In its own lawsuit against Cover Oregon, filed Aug. 8 in U.S. District Court in Portland, Oracle seeks recovery of $23 million it says the state owes it for work on the website.

Oracle blames the fiasco on the incompetence of state officials.

In the aftermath of news reports last year about problems with the website, Oracle says in its lawsuit, “Cover Oregon and public officials could have done two things in the face of those press reports: (a) own up to the management and technical challenges they had encountered and commit to a plan for resolving them, or (b) blame someone else. They chose the latter, and they fixed their sights on Oracle.”

In a recent Survey USA poll, in which Kitzhaber led Richardson, 48 percent to 36 percent, participants were asked how much of the blame for the website’s failure should be placed on Kitzhaber. The results: 20 percent, all; 20 percent, most; 37 percent, some; 17 percent, none.

Of the 564 likely voters sampled in the poll sponsored by Portland television station KATU, 36 percent said Cover Oregon would be a major factor; 28 percent, a minor factor, and 33 percent, none.

The margin of error in the survey, which was conducted by automated telephone calls Aug. 1-5, was 4.2 percentage points.

In a Survey USA poll conducted June 5 to 9, voters who said the Cover Oregon website fiasco would be a major factor broke for Richardson 3 to 1 — but for those who said it was not, they supported Kitzhaber 11 to 1.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(503) 385-4899

Contract Publishing

Go to top
Template by JoomlaShine