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March 2017
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Cover Oregon: Another Victim Of Kitzhaber’s Politics

Like many others, it seemed curious to me that the notorious Cover Oregon website was opened to insurance agents but never to private individuals. Oracle, who built much of the site, says it came down to politics over proficiency.

Software vendor Oracle provided information last week to the U.S. House and Energy Committee claiming the website was operational in February, but that the state of Oregon pulled the plug on it for political reasons.

“Cover Oregon executives have stated to Oracle that the application functionality is sufficient to support individual enrollment,” Oracle president Safra Catz wrote in a letter addressed to Cover Oregon interim director Clyde Hamstreet and state CIO Alex Pettit. “However, Cover Oregon has not agreed to give individuals direct access to the application. Thus Cover Oregon, not Oracle, made the decision to keep the exchange closed to individuals even though the functionality has been delivered by Oracle.”

“Oracle can only conclude that the Governor’s unwillingness to release the website is because doing so doesn’t fit with his re-election strategy of blaming Oracle for his own mistakes,” the presentation reads.

What we know for certain at this point is that gov. Retread – allegedly one of the top health-care “experts” in the country – brought in a crony to run Cover Oregon, and we know that she brought in another crony to assist. We know that, against all standard practices in IT, they decided not to hire a Systems Integrator; deciding instead John_Banner_as_Schultzthat they should do it themselves.

We know that this decision was disastrous. We know that after the site failed in October 2013, gov. Retread pulled his Sgt. Schultz routine, claiming to know nothing – and we know that he subsequently started tossing various members of his hand-picked staff under the proverbial bus.

We know that in early February 2014 the site went live for insurance agents but not for other private citizens. And now we see that Oracle claims that since the site was functioning for them, there was no reason to deny access to everyone.

That is abundantly clear. As one who scrambled to maintain insurance coverage while undergoing treatment for cancer of the biceps, and who eventually was able to retain what Barry’s mouthpiece, Jay Carney, referred to at the time as my “crummy health insurance plan”, I’m well-positioned to note that while I was able to renew in late December, it was not until mid-February that my agent called to say that she could now access the Cover Oregon site. I wondered at the time why she could, but I could not. The reason has become clear: Retread had an election to think about, and allowing the great unwashed masses access would undercut his ability to further grandstand – as when in late May he called for a lawsuit against the software company.

See? See? He’s out there on the front lines, fighting the evil capitalists on our behalf! He may have been, to use his words, “out of the loop” during the previous three years, but by golly, he’s in the loop now, and he’s fighting mad! Just in time for the upcoming elections.

I was able to enroll through my agent on February 28, which of course caused issues because I now had two health insurance policies. These problems would not be resolved until nearly two months later. The political calculus of gov. Retread determined that the inconveniences in time and stomach lining for the little people were of little consequence because he’d come back, spoiling for a fight with a software giant, to show that he was really looking out for us.

He’s really looking out for him. He’d love another term as governor so that he and the First Squeeze can go back to Bhutan for a refresher course on the Happiness Index.

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