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Congressional Panel Issues Dueling Reports On Cover Oregon

The state of Oregon has decided to scrap its troubled health insurance exchange website.
Cover Oregon
The state of Oregon has decided to scrap its troubled health insurance exchange website.

Cover Oregon, Oregon’s failed health insurance sign-up website, continues to serve as political fodder, more than two years after state officials pulled the plug. Congressional Republicans have now asked for a federal criminal investigation into the Cover Oregon website mess.

Cover Oregon's website was supposed to be a one-stop shop for signing up for health insurance plans under Obamacare. But the site never worked and insurance customers had to fill out paper forms.

The useless website design and failed fixes cost more than $300 million in federal tax dollars.

Now, majority Republicans on the U.S. House's Committee on Government Oversight and Reform say their investigation leads them to believe that the failure was more than just ineptitude. The GOP lawmakers are asking U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to open a criminal investigation into whether campaign staffers for then-Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber intervened in order to minimize the political damage.

But a competing report from Democrats on the panel lays the blame for Cover Oregon's failure on IT contractor Oracle. It says Oracle repeatedly misled state officials about the website's viability.

There was no immediate response from the Lynch regarding opening a criminal investigation. Regardless, the drama over Cover Oregon is far from over. The state of Oregon and Oracle have each filed lawsuits accusing the other party for the website's failure.

A spokeswoman for Oregon's Democratic Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum accused Republicans of producing a "politically motivated report."

Copyright 2016 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.