State withholding $25.6 million from Oracle over health exchange website woes

Cover Oregon was supposed to go live Oct. 1 but still isn't fully functional

Oregon is holding back US$25.6 million in payments from Oracle over work the vendor did on the state's troubled health care exchange website.

Dubbed Cover Oregon, the website was built in connection with U.S. President Barack Obama's health care policy overhaul. It was supposed to go live on Oct. 1 but its launch has been marred by a slew of bugs and it is not yet fully functional.

This week, Cover Oregon said it had reached an agreement with Oracle laying out "an orderly transition of technology development services, and protects current and future Cover Oregon enrollees," according to a statement.

The pact will allow officials to keep enrolling state citizens in health care plans while project moves into its next phase, the statement added.

Cover Oregon is holding back $25.6 million out of some $69.5 million Oracle claims it is owed for project work. "Oracle will not use the disputed amount as a reason to stop providing services during this open enrollment period," according to this week's announcement.

The vendor will fix the site's issues under Cover Oregon's supervision. In addition, the state is reserving the right to sue Oracle as well as challenge payments it has already made.

Oregon officials reached the deal with Oracle after the company reportedly threatened to pull all of its workers off the project and essentially walk away.

The state plans to study its options, which include keeping the functionality that is working properly but signing a contract with a different systems integrator for subsequent phases. It's also possible Cover Oregon will use software developed for other state exchanges or Healthcare.gov, according to this week's announcement.

An Oracle spokeswoman declined comment Wednesday.

While the state has obtained a price reduction, it's not clear what more has been accomplished under the pact, according to analyst Michael Krigsman, CEO of consulting firm Asuret and an expert on the roots of IT project failure.

The state's announcement "does not indicate how the work has changed, to remove the obstacles that caused problems in the past," Krigsman said via email. "Unless something changes in the actual work or project management, then what will cause an improved result this time around?"

Much like the problems that cropped up with the national Healthcare.gov website, as well as a number of other state exchanges, Cover Oregon's difficulties have sparked a political firestorm, with Oregon lawmakers recently calling for a federal probe into the project.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags application developmentapplicationsenterprise resource planningit strategybest practicessoftwareIT managementOracle

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?