OR: House Speaker Kotek Issues “Targeted Plan” to Address Cover Oregon Problems

The Oregon Legislature is throwing down the gauntlet on Cover Oregon.

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek

The office of Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, issued a press release on Jan. 24 that details the actions she wants the Legislature to take in response to Cover Oregon’s failure to enroll people online, and in light of increasing evidence that many of Cover Oregon’s problems were due to mismanagement and could have been avoided.

Altogether, the various pieces of the plan add up to an aggressive agenda. The proposals range from extending state agency whistleblower protections to employees of Cover Oregon to allowing the governor to fire Cover Oregon’s entire board of directors within a year.

Another proposal would require contracts worth more than $1 million to undergo a quality assurance review before, during and after the project—something the Oregon Health Authority decided to forego when Cover Oregon first started working with Oracle Corp. In hindsight, that decision proved to be a significant flaw.

“We need to take these steps now to help people, ensure accountability, and give Oregonians confidence in public contracts in the future,” Kotek stated in the press release. “Right now we must make Cover Oregon worthy of the public’s confidence. We will make sure these mistakes are not repeated.”

Legislation sponsored by Rep. Shemia Fagan, D-Portland, contains several of the proposals mentioned in Kotek’s plan.  Rep. Nancy Nathanson (D-Eugene) is sponsoring the legislation that would require independent reviews of contracts.