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The PJ Tatler

by
Bryan Preston

Bio

February 4, 2014 - 1:59 pm

Cover Oregon’s Obamacare website is a mess. Months after its initial rollout, it still doesn’t work. It has more than a dozen outstanding critical errors. There is no date set for its completion.

But according to KATU-TV, it kept passing federal “gate reviews” easily during its development. How could that be?

Former state lawmaker Patrick Sheehan has been looking into the scandal. He has even spoken with the FBI about what he has found.

Pick through his and KATU’s investigation, and it looks like the Obama administration’s incentive system played a part on how Cover Oregon remains unable to cover anyone at all.

Cover Oregon won a federal “early innovator” grant to build the state’s healthcare exchange website. That number grew to $59 million over the course of development. In order to keep the federal dollars flowing in, Cover Oregon had to undergo periodic reviews with the feds.

The Obama government had an incentive not to find problems. Finding problems would have generated bad publicity on his signature issue, from a Democratic state, across President Obama’s run for re-election. The government of Oregon had incentives to cover up any problems it was having developing the site — 59 million reasons, to be exact.

Through the development process and the “gate reviews,” Cover Oregon’s then chief, Carolyn Lawson, presented something to the federal reviewers that won accolades for her and the state.

In January 2012, for instance, Lawson wrote a project update for the legislator’s Ways & Means Committee.

She wrote that staff from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had reviewed the design in its entirety on Nov. 16 and 17. She said they were “delighted” with the technical application and level of quality.

“They gave Oregon very high marks, say our design was among the best they had seen,” she wrote.

What else had the feds seen?

Despite the praise, Lawson’s team never developed a site that actually works. It still doesn’t work. During the same timeframe, a company that the state hired to review progress on the site said that it was seeing a “disaster in the making.”

Sheehan says Oregon’s apparent deception is enough to warrant criminal investigation.

“It was communicated to me that something – one of these gate reviews having to do with a benchmark for federal funding – that the State of Oregon was not being truthful,” Sheehan said.

“That was the allegation that was made and that was serious enough that I had to go to talk to the FBI.”

Sheehan said he took his concerns to the FBI in December, and that he’s talked to investigators several times since.

Throughout the process in 2012, Lawson was telling the state that her team was showing the feds a working site that allowed a live person to sign up for insurance. That’s a feat that the site still can’t accomplish consistently.

All this surely warrants a fraud investigation, but who investigates it? The FBI, which just scuttled its own investigation into the IRS abuse scandal? The government of Oregon? Who?

Cover Oregon’s scandal may well go straight up into the Department of Health and Human Services, which both bungled Healthcare.gov and had every incentive to not notice problems building up in the state exchange sites. President Obama promised in his interview with Bill O’Reilly that he would hold people accountable for Obamacare’s failures. But no one has been fired from his administration.

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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Top Rated Comments   
When you let the feds set the bar that high you end up stubbing your toe - and falling on your face.



41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
It was a YouTube video. And the Tea Party. And Bush.

The Propaganda Machine will get right on this.

Or...nobody is accountable ever on the left. Period.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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And we in Oregon are on the left for sure. Gallup just rated us the most liberal state and the least Christian one to boot. If you are conservative and or Christian and want the disenfranchised experience, move to eastern Oregon, or any part of Oregon east of the Cascades. There will be no followup on the Cover Oregon debacle. Count on it!
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
text
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
I saw that poll and Oregon was tied as 6th and 7th most "liberal", which is bad enough, thank you.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...and the theft in high places was breathtaking to behold".
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
When you let the feds set the bar that high you end up stubbing your toe - and falling on your face.



41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Honestly, how can I become a crony?
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
It could have been among the best that they had ever seen. When the bar was set by the healthcare.gov site, then anything would seem to be better.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
It was a YouTube video. And the Tea Party. And Bush.

The Propaganda Machine will get right on this.

Or...nobody is accountable ever on the left. Period.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
You left out...Ted Cruz.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yeah frogmarched into Leavenworth with the Fast and Furious culprits, and Lois Lerner. I won't hold my breath.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
This case cries out for a Special prosecutor.

But it won't happen. There are too many people in positions of power who are deserving of punishment. And too many people with an interest in covering up this corruption and incompetence.
41 weeks ago
41 weeks ago Link To Comment
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