DURHAM, Ore. -- No more playing nice.
Cover Oregon's main technology developer, Oracle, broke its silence this month about its relationship with Oregon and the state's disastrous health care exchange website. Emails surfaced showing Oracle brushed off any blame and pointed the finger squarely at Cover Oregon.
In a letter to Cover Oregon, Oracle's president, Safra Catz, said, "The state's current effort to deflect responsibility by claiming that Oracle failed to communicate the status of the project is demonstrably false."
Catz also insisted Oracle gave clear and repeated warnings the website would not be ready in time.
"Oracle's extensive documentation of this project supports the conclusion that OHA and Cover Oregon lacked the skills, knowledge or ability to be successful … on an undertaking of this scope and complexity," Catz wrote.
The Cover Oregon website is a state-run online marketplace where Oregonians can find and purchase health insurance, but it's had arguably one of the worst rollouts in the country. Despite a grand vision, an earlier start and millions of dollars from the government, the website has been in shambles since its Oct. 1 launch date. To this day -- just days away from the end of open enrollment -- the public still cannot enroll for health insurance in a single sitting online.
On Thursday, a Cover Oregon technology committee recommended that Cover Oregon be scrapped and transitioned to the federal marketplace instead. Oregon's chief information officer, Alex Pettit, said fixing the existing system would be too costly at an estimated $78 million, would take too long to implement and would be too risky. Pettit said switching to the federal system would cost $4 million to $6 million.
The On Your Side Investigators found Oracle gave false impression of success with Cover Oregon and in a very public way. On Oct. 2, 2013, one day after the exchange failed to go live, Oracle's official corporate twitter account crowed about the website: "Check out this article from @InformationWeek discussing Oregon's successful #HIX, built on #Oracle technology."
One month after the site failed to go live, Oracle VP Thomas Budner downplayed problems when the state was courting disaster.
"We are not at all happy with the fact that the schedule has slipped. This has visibility in our company," Budner said. "I think we have a, a very good handle of where the issues lay, and what we're trying to do is make sure that we do as comprehensive testing as possible to make sure other areas aren't impacted."
In addition, KATU uncovered documents citing Oracle's "atrocious" work, missed deadlines, and under-performance. About three weeks after Cover Oregon went live, the company's chief technology officer, Garrett Reynolds, emailed Cover Oregon's chief information officer, Aaron Karjala, regarding a damning review of Oracle work.
"The review shows that the Oracle development team's quality of the work was atrocious and that they broke every single development best practice that Oracle themselves have defined," Reynolds wrote. "It is one of the worst assessments I have performed in my 18 years of Siebel work."
State Information Technology oversight official, Ying Kwong, also aired his frustrations with Oracle, writing in an email on May 3, 2013, "I cannot interpret the information as presented by Oracle, and I would suggest that no one can."
KATU also obtained dozens of reports by Maximus, which was hired by the state as its quality assurance contractor. It repeatedly spelled out Oracle's failures and urged Cover Oregon to renegotiate the Oracle contract.
"The lack of reliable estimating by the Oracle teams, undiscovered development issues, and incomplete requirements by Cover Oregon will result in continued surprises to Cover Oregon," according to one Maximus report.
Another Maximus report stated, "Oracle's performance is lacking. Their inability to adhere to industry standards and professional software and project management tenants warrants further review," and, "The releases are not stable and fixes and features are appearing randomly in the releases. In addition, more items are *breaking then are being repaired. ... "
The On Your Side Investigators have contacted Oracle for months for a comment, to no avail. That changed Thursday, when a spokesperson provided its first email statement to On Your Side Investigator Chelsea Kopta. The statement is brief and does not touch on who's at fault for the website, only Thursday's big Cover Oregon announcement.
"Oracle looks forward to providing any assistance the State needs in moving parts of Oregon's health care exchange to the Federal system if it ultimately decides to do so. Oracle will continue to support the State in providing long term solutions for Oregonians, and to assist with its ongoing health care modernization efforts," wrote Deborah Hellinger, Oracle's primary spokeswoman.
- Email (11-19-13) from consultant John Cvetko of TEK Associates to former Cover Oregon director Rocky King - Review of Oracle software development
Full coverage of the troubled Cover Oregon website:
- Panel recommends Oregon move to federal health exchange
- Oracle says it's not to blame for failed launch of Cover Oregon
- No decision on future of Cover Oregon but options narrowed to two
- Report: Federal exchange cheapest fix for Cover Oregon
- Cover Oregon goes to Congress, defends work that's been done
- Cover Oregon invites public to once-secret oversight meetings
- Top Cover Oregon IT official resigns
- Cover Oregon: Apply for insurance in April and avoid federal penalty
- Cover Oregon makes secret meetings public, won't explain the change
- Secret Cover Oregon oversight meetings may violate public meetings law
- Cover Oregon announces $1 million ad blitz to raise awareness
- Months later, Gresham woman still wondering if she has health insurance
- Portland tech company to governor: We can fix Cover Oregon's website
- State granted one-month extensioin for Cover Oregon enrollment
- First Data report: Cover Oregon didn't have federally required backup plan
- Watch: Your Voice Your Future Town Hall: Cover Oregon
- Cover Oregon confessions: Are they playing games with your health?
- New report answers many Cover Oregon questions - often for second time
- Cover Oregon directory Goldberg resigns; Governor releases investigation findings
- Cover Oregon: Still pushing for deadline extension
- Oregon tied for last in nation for young-adult health-insurance sign-ups
- Cover Oregon: Apply now if you want health insurance this year
- Federal government announces Cover Oregon investigation
- Former Cover Oregon director says 'all of us' share blame for failures
- Top Cover Oregon official refuses to discuss Lawson resignation
- Official: Oracle not allowing Cover Oregon probe access to 6 employees
- Trouble with Cover Oregon? You may still get federal tax credits
- Cover Oregon website developer pulls 100 worker off project
- Ex-Cover Oregon website chief: 'I stuck to the talking points ... they were not accurate'
- High-level IT consultant on Cover Oregon: 'They didn't know what they were doing'
- New Cover Oregon allegations: 'If it's true, someone's going to prison.'
- Paging Dr. Kitzhaber: What did the governor know about Cover Oregon collapse?
- State rep., U.S. Senate candidate calls for the end of Cover Oregon
- Cover Oregon head: State might scrap all or part of failing website
- State lawmakers to grill Cover Oregon chief
- Family struggles to sign up for insurance through Cover Oregon
- First legal complaint filed over health enrollment mistakes
- Democratic state lawmaker believes Cover Oregon can be saved
- Contractor plans to examine why Cover Oregon failed
- 'We look like fools:' A history of Cover Oregon's failure
- State rep: Ditch Cover Oregon in favor of federal exchange
- Video: Exclusive Interview: Gov. John Kitzhaber - Cover Oregon 1/9/2014
- Gov. denies prior knowledge of Cover Oregon failure, exits exclusive KATU interview
- Kitzhaber outlines Cover Oregon's next steps: 'I can't give you a date'
- Kitzhaber: Firm will review Cover Oregon failures
- Cover Oregon applications left in limbo?
- Man with cancer waiting on Cover Oregon, gets insured
- Man with cancer still waiting on Cover Oregon
- New calls for Cover Oregon to take responsibility for project failures
- Rocky King, director of troubled Cover Oregon, resigns
- Salem man says Cover Oregon error left him in health care limbo
- Some question if they'll be covered by Cover Oregon in the new year
- What doomed Cover Oregon? 'Mismanagement,' say former employees
- After resigning, Lawson not talking about Cover Oregon website failures
- Ore. health official in charge of building Cover Oregon website resigns
- Fewer enrollments challenge Oregon exchange budget
- Executive director of Cover Oregon taking medical leave
- Cover Oregon considers new solutions
- Kitzhaber calls for independent review of Cover Oregon
- New emails show Cover Oregon unraveling in days before launch
- Emails: Cover Oregon executive knew about website problems in May
- Cover Oregon complicated by state's grand vision