KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Exchange News: Oracle Sues Ore. For $23M; Mass. Sticks With State-Run Website

Oracle Corp., the primary developer behind Oregon's dysfunctional health insurance website, sued Cover Oregon and accused Gov. John Kitzhaber of conducting a "smear campaign" against the company. Meanwhile, Massachusetts officials decided to replace that state's failed exchange with another from a private company, rather than shifting to the federal marketplace.

Los Angeles Times: Oracle Sues Oregon Over Botched Obamacare Exchange
The legal battle over Oregon's dysfunctional health insurance exchange officially began this week when Oracle Corp. sued the state agency operating the exchange, alleging breach of contract and accusing Gov. John Kitzhaber of attempting to systematically "vilify the company in the media." In a 21-page complaint filed Friday in federal court for the District of Oregon, Portland Division, Oracle charges that during the early months of this year, state officials privately continued to request Oracle's help to fix their system while engaging in a campaign of "constant public slander" against the tech company (Reston, 8/9).

The Associated Press: Oracle Sues Oregon Over Health Insurance Exchange
Oracle Corp. has sued the state of Oregon in a fight over the state's health insurance exchange, saying government officials are using the technology company's software despite $23 million in disputed bills. Oracle's breach-of-contract lawsuit against Cover Oregon was filed Friday in federal court in Portland. It alleges that state officials repeatedly promised to pay the company but have not done so (Cooper and Wozniacka, 8/8).

The Oregonian: Cover Oregon: Oracle Comes Out Swinging, Files Lawsuit, Accuses Kitzhaber Of 'Campaign'
Oracle Corp. launched a full frontal assault against the state of Oregon Friday when it sued Cover Oregon and accused Gov. John Kitzhaber of conducting a "smear campaign" against the company. Oracle essentially beat Oregon to the punch when it filed the breach of contract complaint in U.S. District Court of Oregon. Kitzhaber asked Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum 9 weeks ago to consider a suit against the technology company. Oracle was the state's lead contractor on its disastrous health-insurance exchange. In the complaint filed Friday, Oracle says the state's poor management doomed the exchange (Manning, 8/8).

The Oregonian: Oregon Faces Uphill Legal Battle Against Oracle Corp. Over Health Insurance Exchange Debacle
Even if Oracle Corp. lied about the quality of its software and its work for the Cover Oregon health insurance exchange, the state's lawyers face a tough challenge to recoup any of the $130 million paid to the firm, legal experts say. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has awarded a $2 million contract to an outside law firm and issued a number of investigative demands in advance of filing a lawsuit against Oracle, which could be imminent. State officials blame the California software giant for the state's health exchange fiasco that began last fall (Budnick, 8/8).

Bloomberg: Oracle Sues Oregon For $23M Over Health Exchange
Kitzhaber, a 67-year-old Democrat who has come under political attack on the issue as he seeks a fourth term, has been trading blame with Oracle over the failure to create a website that Oregonians could use to enroll in health coverage under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Technical flaws in the Cover Oregon website, the portal to a $305 million state-run insurance exchange, caused thousands of consumers to file paper applications until the state gave up in April and directed enrollees to the federal website (Rosenblatt, 8/8).

The Wall Street Journal: Massachusetts To Replace Health Exchange With Privately Run System 
Massachusetts will replace its failed online health-insurance exchange with another from a private company rather than shifting to the federally run marketplace, a state health official said Friday. The state has been scrambling to replace the old system after a problem-plagued enrollment period late last year. In June, it cut ties with the system's architect, CGI Group Inc. (Kamp, 8/8).

WBUR: Mass. Pledges New State-Run Insurance Website Will Work
The decision is in: Massachusetts will go with a new state-run health insurance website. The Patrick administration revealed Friday that it is no longer building out the option of sending residents shopping for coverage to the federal health insurance site, "We are poised to offer consumers a streamlined, single point-of-entry shopping experience for health care plans in time for fall 2014 Open Enrollment," Gov. Deval Patrick wrote in a letter to federal officials, dated Thursday (Bebinger, 8/8).

The Associated Press: Massachusetts Will Keep State-Based Health Website
Massachusetts officials overseeing the state's hobbled health care exchange decided Friday to stick with new software designed to upgrade the website rather than switching over to the federal government's health insurance market. For the past several months the state has adopted a "dual-track" approach that called for buying software that has powered insurance marketplaces in other states while also laying the groundwork for a switchover to the federal marketplace if necessary (LeBlanc, 8/8).

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