Feb
13
2014

*Somebody* at Cover Oregon will end up going to jail. #obamacare

Background: in February of 2013 the relevant players in the Cover Oregon Obamacare debacle – and they knew that it was a debacle, even then; the Democrat-controlled Oregon state government just forgot to tell anyone – had a rather emotionally intense meeting that produced, among other things*, a list of issues/action items/whatnot.  And that’s important, because…

Tucked away on page four of that list is a brief item labeled “Oracle Contract Issues.” It touches on contracts and accounting the state used with Oracle – the vendor hired to provide much of the website’s software and technical support – that were “inconsistent with generally acceptably industry best practice procedures.”

Here’s where things get interesting.

The report goes on to say the issue was resolved, citing an audit by the Secretary of State’s office that “found everything in order.”

But the KATU On Your Side Investigators have learned that that audit – the only piece of evidence used to dismiss major accountability problems surrounding a contract that eventually grew to $119 million – doesn’t exist.

This is important because Oregon Health Authority head Carolyn Lawson was not subject to normal transparency requirements when it came to Cover Oregon’s contract with Oracle.  Lawson happens to have what KATU calls “close long-term ties to Oracle” and a prior history of funneling the company contracts in an inappropriate fashion**. Lawson has also since resigned; whether that’s enough will be, in fact, up to the Oregon state government…

Note the lack of the usual adjective, there.  2014 is an election year, after all. 2015 may very well have a new set of state officials involved; ones associated with politicians who ran on a campaign of We Are Not Amused…

Moe Lane

*A basic sense of chivalry forbids me from being any more specific than that.  Click on the link and you’ll see why.

**How did the Democratic-controlled Oregon state government miss that?  … the question answers itself, doesn’t it?

5 Comments

  • Skip says:

    So I’m not actually surprised that the contractors used smoke and mirrors to obscure facts that parts of the system weren’t functional yet – I’d suspect every single contracting house has done that on a regular basis since time immemorial. Projects don’t tend to show a lot of visual progress in the beginning, but the customer always wants to see visual progress, so they fake up some screens with nothing actually behind them, knowing it’ll be done later. As long as you actually get them done, doesn’t hurt anything. The problem here was not that they never got them done, but that they were in a situation where the due date could not slip, with an unmakeable schedule, so they never were going to get them done. As far as the contract house is concerned, that was just (sleazy) business as usual, so it’s going to come as a great surprise to them that they may actually get called out for fraud.

    • Greg says:

      Having a little bit of government contracting experience (Federal, not necessarily SoO contracting), I have noticed for several years a problem of sheer laziness on the part of the government – allowing the Contractor to write the Statement of Work for the government office and having the Contracting Officer approve the SOW. So it IS in the best interest of the Contractor to write it as specific as possible to force equitable adjustments for increased scope UNLESS it is on a Cost Reimbursable contract. In THAT particular case, the customer is responsible for ALL costs (with limitations, of course) but as long as the SOW doesn’t state that “X” cannot be done, it can be argued that it can be done and thus paid for.
      .
      Basically, this is more common than not – and I doubt that anyone will ever go to jail.

      • Herp McDerp says:

        So I’m not actually surprised that the contractors used smoke and mirrors to obscure facts that parts of the system weren’t functional yet – I’d suspect every single contracting house has done that on a regular basis since time immemorial.
         

        True enough, Skip — but that still doesn’t excuse the dipwads who were in charge of the project.
         
        I attended a public meeting in mid-August at which several Cover Oregon officials told skeptical questioners in the audience — including Your Humble Narrator — that although they recognized the fact that implementing the Cover Oregon website and database would indeed be a big IT challenge, they were confident of success, and that everything was on track for it to be up and running on October 1.
         
        Heat up the tar, fluff up the feathers.

  • Greg says:

    Wow. With a name like “Oracle”, you would think that they could see this type of crap coming…. LOL

  • techsan says:

    As usual….Name That Party! Both articles. First one is quite lengthy. A Ctrl-F turns up…well, nothing.

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