Cover Oregon’s chief tech official resigns; site has signed up exactly zero people

posted at 3:31 pm on December 20, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

And another one bites the dust. The leaders of each of Minnesota, Maryland, and Hawaii’s state-run exchanges have all hit the road, and earlier this month, the executive director of Oregon’s own epically botched exchange announced he was taking an extended “medical leave.” Now, it looks like the next-in-line at Cover Oregon is getting the boot, too, via OregonLive:

Carolyn Lawson, the embattled state technology executive who oversaw much of the development of Oregon’s troubled health insurance exchange, has resigned for personal reasons.

It was Lawson, chief information officer at the Oregon Health Authority, who decided the state could manage the complex exchange project itself, rather than hire a private-sector systems integrator, a decision since criticized by her superiors. Lawson also was close to Oracle Corp., the California technology giant that has been blamed for doing shoddy work and repeatedly missing deadlines. …

As The Oregonian reported Sunday, the exchange has been plagued by poor work by Oracle. Miscues by state managers have also figured prominently in the exchange’s issues.

An August 2012 report from the project’s quality assurance contractor found the exchange project was disorganized, lacked basic management and budget controls to ensure contractor performance. The exchange’s fate was further endangered by distrust and lack of communication between Lawson’s Oregon Health Authority and Cover Oregon, the public corporation that took over responsibility for the exchange’s contracts in May 2013.

Oregon’s exchange has been plagued with entirely prohibitive glitches since day one, and nearing three months and $160 million Oregonian taxpayer dollars later, they haven’t managed to make the site even just barely functional. Back in mid-November, they predicted that they’d have the site finally ready to go by December 16th — and yet, lo and behold, that deadline has come and gone and their refreshed estimate is kicking the date back by weeks or even months. They do have signups trickling in via paper application (they had to make 400 emergency hires to process applications when they realized their website didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of making it off the ground anytime soon), but the back-and-forth required to sign up for health insurance means that’s a mighty slow, complex, and error-prone way to do things. At the last count, Oregon had only enrolled 730 people in private plans — ranking them dead last for signups in the nation. Ouch.


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I’ve never smoked weed, but that picture makes me want to, man.

Ward Cleaver on December 20, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Wait. Libfree told me enrollments are up, and everything will be hunky dory! The troll didn’t lie to me, did it?

stvnscott on December 20, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Jeez, what is it with all these personal issues cropping up with state healthcare directors, did they all get exposed to some terrifying new disease while on a group cruise or something? Very strange.

Bishop on December 20, 2013 at 3:40 PM

The libs of Oregon are always liberal with the money in other people’s pockets, not their own.

albill on December 20, 2013 at 3:41 PM

And recall the very day before the launch he cited Maryland specifically and other states that had been “investing” in the development of Obamacare as the model of how the system should work.

DanMan on December 20, 2013 at 3:41 PM

I’ve never smoked weed, but that picture makes me want to, man.

Ward Cleaver on December 20, 2013 at 3:36 PM

What really on covered Oregon’s website?

Oil Can on December 20, 2013 at 3:41 PM

did they all get exposed to some terrifying new disease while on a group cruise or something? Very strange.

Bishop on December 20, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Don’t forget that accountability is a disease to the left Bishop.

Gatsu on December 20, 2013 at 3:42 PM

It was Lawson, chief information officer at the Oregon Health Authority, who decided the state could manage the complex exchange project itself, rather than hire a private-sector systems integrator, a decision since criticized by her superiors. Lawson also was close to Oracle Corp., the California technology giant that has been blamed for doing shoddy work and repeatedly missing deadlines. …

I don’t know anything about the facts of this case, and I don’t like Oracle, but I don’t believe for one second that the fault here lies with Oracle, an extremely talented tech firm. It’s typical leftist blame shifting.

thuja on December 20, 2013 at 3:42 PM

No worries man! Light up a doobie and kick back! It’s all mellow!

GarandFan on December 20, 2013 at 3:43 PM

LOL!

Punchenko on December 20, 2013 at 3:44 PM

But, in theory it works, right?

Fallon on December 20, 2013 at 3:48 PM

So,

*********************** SWEET F/A *******************!!

canopfor on December 20, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Someone update me as to Oregon and Federal jurisprudence:
Is it still illegal to mount the heads of fantastically incompetent bureaucrats on pikes in front of the state house, as a warning to the others?

…Still a ‘no-go’, huh?
Pity.

orangemtl on December 20, 2013 at 3:51 PM

The project was disorganized, lacked basic management and budget controls to ensure contractor performance. The exchange’s fate was further endangered by distrust and lack of communication

You could use that as the opening paragraph describing any government project.

BacaDog on December 20, 2013 at 3:53 PM

In MA, Gov. Duval Patrick has insisted on making the MA insurance system look just like Obamacare, and on a lot of fronts insurance in MA was working, if more expensive than the norm, but now with the exchanges under Duval Patrick, the Health Care Connector no longer works. No one can make the Health Connector give them insurance, and it was working fine last year. And of course, a lot of people who used to buy their own insurance now get Medicaid.

All over the country these exchanges don’t work?I don’t think this is a bug, I think it is a feature. I think the subsidy calculator is broken, and nobody really knows how much you might be getting in your subsidy…so they turn it off to avoid further mistakes. And I think if they give all the people a subsidy that Obama’s rhetoric implies…the middle class families…blah blah blah, it busts the budget. I think they are buying time now to try to figure out how to promise more subsidy cash to people who think they should be gettin’ it.

Mind you, MA did not need to upgrade to Obamacare at all, MA had the highest possible coverage rate in the country.

What do you think?

Fleuries on December 20, 2013 at 3:57 PM

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Robert_Paulson on December 20, 2013 at 3:57 PM

As a native son of Orygun (that’s how you say it— no there are no other legitimate options), this whole campaign has been disgusting. I haven’t met one person here who thinks the ads are anything but demeaning and insulting.

Scribbler on December 20, 2013 at 3:58 PM

The magical misery tour will carry your wallet away…..

WryTrvllr on December 20, 2013 at 3:59 PM

If you stare at that image long enough it makes you believe you have coverage. It also makes you want to buy some bongos and an old VW van.

Conspiracy between bongo makers, used car dealers, and the State.

Bishop on December 20, 2013 at 4:04 PM

In the private sector, this incompetant manager would have been removed well before October 1st. In the government sector, useless incompetant people hang on.

Freddy on December 20, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Lawson also was close to Oracle Corp.

…could that have been the OralSex Corp.?

KOOLAID2 on December 20, 2013 at 4:09 PM

…and of course she will be hired again, because that is what government does, reward failure.

right2bright on December 20, 2013 at 4:10 PM

The magical misery tour will carry your wallet away…..

WryTrvllr on December 20, 2013 at 3:59 PM

Winner-winner, chicken dinner…

right2bright on December 20, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Give Oregon to Mexico.

Flippin’ hippie state.

Two birds.

Axe on December 20, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Sadly, it looks as though the Oregon taxpayers got more value for their dollar with the video than with the exchange.

talkingpoints on December 20, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Friday’s not over yet … RT @ACLU: BREAKING: Federal court in Utah declares same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional. More Soon. #LGBT
Retweeted by Ben Smith

kcewa on December 20, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Applying the law as it is required to do, the court holds that Utah’s prohibition on same-sex marriage conflicts with the United States Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection anddue process under the law. The State’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for norational reason. Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional

kcewa on December 20, 2013 at 4:23 PM

kcewa on December 20, 2013 at 4:23 PM

The special rights march continues.

22044 on December 20, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Zero signups? That’s only 13,684 shy of California’s “most successful program in the nation” rate.
 
Thanks again for the link, libfreeordie.

rogerb on December 20, 2013 at 4:27 PM

The special rights march continues.

22044 on December 20, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Death march…

kcewa on December 20, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Friday’s not over yet … RT @ACLU: BREAKING: Federal court in Utah declares same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional. More Soon. #LGBT
Retweeted by Ben Smith

kcewa on December 20, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Could you keep your social issues out of the economic threads? It’s just annoying to have socon wars on threads about important issues.

thuja on December 20, 2013 at 4:38 PM

Could you keep your social issues out of the economic threads? It’s just annoying to have socon wars on threads about important issues.

thuja on December 20, 2013 at 4:38 PM

Very intelligent remark. Thanks for contributing.

kcewa on December 20, 2013 at 4:43 PM

What do you think?

Fleuries on December 20, 2013 at 3:57 PM

It almost sounds like Romney, a Rethuglican, somehow knew what he was doing…

Not that I’m defending any kind of government bullshit ‘program’.

Lanceman on December 20, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Yet another exchange in a dark blue state where they went from smugly predicting they would be the model for the nation to bitter recriminations and incompetence.

As a result, not to many Oregonians are flying on their own wings tonight.

Happy Nomad on December 20, 2013 at 4:50 PM

thuja on December 20, 2013 at 4:38 PM

Cover Oregon is an economic issue?

Happy Nomad on December 20, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Cover Oregon is an economic issue?

Happy Nomad on December 20, 2013 at 4:52 PM

I presume you are joking, but still I am going to answer yes.

thuja on December 20, 2013 at 4:56 PM

In a related story, WH Spokesman Jay Carney and HHS head Kathleen Sebelius declared a health care victory for Oregon.

ghostwalker1 on December 20, 2013 at 5:00 PM

It gets better.

Glitchaber wants a fourth term.

Christien on December 20, 2013 at 5:01 PM

Follow the money. Did they blow a ton of it on marketing, at the expense of building a functional exchange?

Christien on December 20, 2013 at 5:02 PM

I presume you are joking, but still I am going to answer yes.

thuja on December 20, 2013 at 4:56 PM

No, you whined that somebody would dare throw up a social issue on this thread. Which apparently you wanted to keep as a pure “economic” issue. I don’t see how this thread is about the economy. It isn’t about social issues either but that’s beside the point.

Happy Nomad on December 20, 2013 at 5:09 PM

NSA surveillance programs leaked
5m
Report: NSA arranged secret $10 million contract with encryption company RSA – @Reuters
read more on reuters.com
============================

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/20/us-usa-security-rsa-idUSBRE9BJ1C220131220

canopfor on December 20, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Well, if they can’t fly on their own wings, maybe they could ask Nanzi if she would lend them some of her flying monkeys, no?

lfwest on December 20, 2013 at 5:24 PM

You can’t possibly have this much money dumped into such a complete and utter failure – and not ask why these people aren’t in jail.

Un. Freaking. Believable.

Hill60 on December 20, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Portlandia.

Their website skills are stuck in the 90′s too.

portlandon on December 20, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Well, if they can’t fly on their own wings, maybe they could ask Nanzi if she would lend them some of her flying monkeys, no?

lfwest on December 20, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Or timeshare the broom.

Happy Nomad on December 20, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Weirdly enough, I think I could have predicted this clusterfark last summer because of a totally unrelated (or not?) experience with the fine state of Oregon’s IT abilities.

I was planning a road trip with my son from Washington (where he lives) to Colorado (where I live), passing through Oregon. As part of that planning, I bookmarked the state DOT road conditions web page for each state we were going to pass through. Colorado DOT has a very nice web page, cotrip.org, with lots of good information like road conditions, drive times, etc., all displayed on interactive maps with zoom and pan. Oregon? Not so much. Their web page, tripcheck.com, has tiny, static maps with limited information. It looks like a map application from before Google maps changed the way map applications look and work — way back in 2005.

Oregon likes people to think they’re hip and cool and technologically savvy, but from their extremely lame DOT web page apparently one could safely conclude that they’re not. So it’s no wonder the Cover Oregon web page has fallen down and can’t get up. They’re all flash and no substance. Kind of like all liberals, huh?

lovesthesun on December 20, 2013 at 6:10 PM

As The Oregonian reported Sunday, the exchange has been plagued by poor work by Oracle. Miscues by state managers have also figured prominently in the exchange’s issues.

The problem ain’t Oracle or any other tech company, the problem is setting up civil servants as program managers, instead of someone who knows business bottomlines. Oregon could have given Larry half of what they spent and said “make it so” and lo and behold everything worked.
Like Reagan once said, “it isn’t because they’re idiots, it’s just everything they know, just isn’t so.”

AH_C on December 20, 2013 at 6:45 PM

lovesthesun on December 20, 2013 at 6:10 PM

Try Northwest Web Cams next time.

Christien on December 20, 2013 at 6:51 PM

AH_C on December 20, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Are you sure poor work by Oracle wasn’t part of the problem, too? I’ve heard firsthand about shoddy work by Oracle. Luckily, it was caught by a temp. Your other point is a good one.

Christien on December 20, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Your government at work. Just throw money at the problem and say no one is madder than you and all will be ok

jaywemm on December 20, 2013 at 8:58 PM

… going … going … Ore – gone !!

dissent555 on December 21, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Oh, it gets better. You see, those emergency hires… Cover Oregon wants to bring in students aka teens 16-18 to process applications.

I guess cost overruns mean they need cheap workers. Would you want a teen filling out your health care paperwork? Access to your personal info? They’ll get background checks of course.

http://www.koin.com/news/oregon/students-brought-in-for-cover-oregon-work

oryguncon on December 21, 2013 at 10:23 AM