| PORTLAND, Ore., June 17
PORTLAND, Ore., June 17 O7regon is taking the
next step toward a possible lawsuit against the company that
developed the embattled Cover Oregon website as part of the
implementation of the federal healthcare program known as
Obamacare, state officials said on Tuesday.
The state issued what are known as civil investigative
demands (CIDs) for information on Monday in the potential case
against Oracle Corps, which the state paid about $134 million to
create technology for the site.
"Beyond that, I cannot comment on the content of the CIDs,
who they were issued to or how many were issued," said Kristina
Edmunson, communications director for the Oregon Department of
Oregon, a state that fully embraced the Affordable Care Act,
endured one of the rockiest rollouts of President Barack Obama's
healthcare law, requiring tens of thousands of applicants to use
paper forms since launching on Oct. 1.
The state decided in April to move its troubled state
exchange to the federal system. Governor John Kitzhaber, who is
up for re-election in November, said last month he wants the
state to seek legal action against Oracle.
The potential lawsuit comes as federal prosecutors have
subpoenaed documents from Oregon's health exchange agency as
part of a grand jury investigation into how the state used
federal money to set up the now-failed insurance exchange.
Oracle Corp last month defended its work and said
the governor's move was political. Deborah Hellinger, vice
president of corporate communications for Oracle, declined to
comment for this story.
The state has hired an outside law firm to assist with
potential legal action against Oracle, Kitzhaber's communication
director, Nkenge Harmon Johnson, said. She would not say how
much the state is paying for potential litigation.
"It is possible that Oracle would be forced to reimburse
Oregonians for all of it: legal expenses in addition to damages
and the costs of the flawed website," Harmon Johnson said.
State officials would not comment on what the next steps
might be, except to say they are working on the case.
"In terms of timing, the Department of Justice continues to
consider all legal options, and we, along with our retained
counsel, continue to do the necessary legal and investigative
background required before making a decision as to how and when
to proceed," Edmunson said.
(Writing by Bill Trott Editing by xxxx xxxxx)