Friday, August 12, 2022
Aug. 12, 2022

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Covering Cover Oregon’s bills won’t end with dissolution

The Columbian
Published:

PORTLAND — A bill dissolving the independent corporation that runs Cover Oregon is on its way to Gov. Kate Brown. The agency has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a health exchange that failed — with more millions in legal fees and other expenses still to come.

Cover Oregon spent $300 million in federal funds, much of it to have Oracle America Inc. build an exchange for Oregonians to buy health insurance. The health exchange web portal failed to launch in 2013.

Last spring, Oregon scrapped the web portal and switched to HealthCare.Gov, a federally run website. Cover Oregon continued to perform functions such as interacting between insurance companies and insurance buyers. Now those tasks will be folded into other agencies.

The state also spent at least $26 million of its own.

MONEY SPENT


• $240 million —
Oregon paid Oracle to develop the exchanges for individuals and small businesses and for public assistance modernization. This spent part of a $300 million federal grant.


• $60 million —
The remainder of the federal grant went for salaries, marketing, communications, community grants and other administrative costs.


• $23 million —
additional state money spent on the failed modernization technology project.


• $9.1 million —
spent through 2014 for hundreds of temporary workers to process paper applications.


• $6.6 million —
Cover Oregon paid Deloitte to assess glitch-filled exchange, provide future options for the state and transition the state to HealthCare.gov.


• $1 million —
amount paid for independent assessment of Cover Oregon project by First Data, and for services of turnaround expert Clyde Hamstreet and his team who took over Cover Oregon’s reigns at the height of its failure last spring.


• $1.9 million —
attorney’s fees for legal fight against Oracle and federal criminal investigation into exchange failure.

MONEY STILL TO BE SPENT


• $30 million —
estimated, Oregon will pay to adapt Kentucky’s Medicaid system. The federal government has promised to pay 90 percent of it.


• Unknown —
Oregon will pay Oracle to host the Medicaid system through 2015.


• Unknown —
to build a website for small businesses to obtain health coverage for employees.


• Unknown —
to modernize the state’s legacy social services computer systems.


• Unknown —
additional legal fees for lawsuits and criminal investigation.

CONTESTED MONEY


• $23 million —
Oracle is suing Oregon for this additional payment for building the exchange.


• $5.5 billion —
Oregon is suing Oracle for damages and penalties, claiming fraud, false claims, breach of contract and civil racketeering.

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