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Cover Oregon May Not Have Authority To Abandon Troubled Website

The Cover Oregon board of directors doesn't have the legal authority to drop its troubled website and have Oregonians use the federal website - according to a legal opinion from the state's legislative counsel.

The legal opinion was obtained by the Oregonian newspaper.

It's non-binding. But it finds state legislators would have to tweak several laws before the change could be permitted. In addition, the board would have to give the feds a year's notice.

But Cover Oregon board chairwoman, Liz Baxter, says they're not planning to get rid of the website, what they want is to use the federal technology.

"At the moment we are not talking about Cover Oregon going away," she said. "We are needing to have technology that will work for folks when they apply and enroll."

The legal opinion also offered the state a work-around. It found that if the feds decided the Cover Oregon website didn't satisfy the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, the feds could then require the state to transition to the federal site, healthcare.gov.

Copyright 2014 Oregon Public Broadcasting