This might explain why CoverOregon hasn't updated their enrollments in 3 weeks...

Hat Tip To: 
Nick Budnick

In spite of their amazingly successful manual workaround process (which has enrolled 465,000 people in either private or Medicaid coverage), Oregon's website debacle continues to fester. Even so, until recently they've ironically been one of the most reliable state exchanges when it comes to publicly posting updated enrollment data. New detailed data has been posted pretty much once a week since the crazy days of March/April on a regular basis.

That all came to a screeching halt just over 3 weeks ago; the last update out of CoverOregon was August 6th. Again, this is still much better than most other states which only publish updates monthly or not at all, but for Oregon it's been worrisome for me, since they're one of only a handful of states giving that info out at all during the off-season.

Well, today I think I've figured out what's causing this. The ugly lawsuit/countersuit between the State of Oregon and Oracle Corp, which botched the website job, has just gotten much, much uglier. Not only are they suing each other for $23 million and $5.5 billion respectively, but Nick Budnick of the Oregonian reports that...

...Despite having accused the California software giant of lies, poor work and fraud in court, the state still needs Oracle's help.

...According to an Aug. 19 Deloitte report, Oracle has not granted the state's new vendor access to a key server that would allow deployment of the revamped programming code that would make the new Medicaid system run.

Not only that, but the project needs Oracle to set up a new production environment -- think of it as the online software-development garage where programmers tinker with and test the technology. And that hasn't happened yet.

Good heavens. I've run into nasty situations like this one as a freelance website developer, where someone hires me to overhaul a website developed by someone else, and the prior developer holds the server/domain/whatever hostage pending payment that they feel is still owed to them. That would make me the "Deloitte" in this scenario, and my general rule of thumb in such situations is to either a) not touch them with a 10-foot pole if I know what the situation is beforehand or b) to make sure to include strict caveats in my contract stipulating that it's up to the client to provide me with whatever access/logins/etc. I need in order to do my work, not myself.

However, that's generally for websites amounting to a few thousand dollars worth of work. This is a several-hundred-million-dollar project between a state government and one of the largest technology corporations in the world. Furthermore, while I'm hesitant to "pick sides" without knowing all the details, this sure as hell doesn't help Oracle in the court of public opinion:

The 126-page lawsuit was filed in Marion County Circuit Court Friday morning. It accuses the California software giant of fraud, false claims, breach of contract and civil racketeering.

...Oracle blames the state for failing to hire a "systems integrator," sort of a specialized technology general contractor to oversee Oracle's work.

The state's lawsuit, however, derides Oracle's suit and also pins the state's decision not to hire a systems integrator on Oracle itself.

The complaint cites information from an unnamed former employee that Oracle engaged in a concerted effort to persuade the state not to hire a systems integrator, or SI. The former employee said the company engaged in an organized "behind-the-scenes effort" calculated to convince the state that hiring an SI would just cause delay. The company's real concern was that the state's hire of an SI is "just going to cause us trouble," the employee said, according to the suit.

Yeeks. And neither does this:

The state issued its civil investigative demand, or CID, to Oracle on June 30 under the Oregon False Claims Act. The law requires production of documents even if a lawsuit has not been filed yet. In this case, Oracle was given until July 22 to comply.

But according to a sworn declaration filed in federal court, Oracle responded that it wanted a confidentiality agreement before it produces documents. The state offered its standard confidentiality provisions, but the firm refused to provide documents until it had more guarantees. The documents were never turned over.

Hoo, boy.

Something tells me I won't be able to rely on CoverOregon for timely, accurate enrollment data for awhile...