For months Oracle has been publically flogged for Oregon’s poorly functioning Affordable Care Act website.
And now, long after the state stopped making payments to the company, Oracle may be ramping down its efforts to fix the website, even though it still won’t let individuals sign up for health care, reports The Oregonian’s Nick Budnick.
Over the past week, Oracle has yanked about 100 employees off the Cover Oregon project, sources told Budnick. That would leave about 65 people still working on it.
Sources told Budnick that the remaining Oracle employees appear to be working on maintenance, and not on finishing the site.
After the site missed its Oct. 1 launch date, Oracle executives promised to infuse the project with its best programmers and agreed to fix the most serious bugs for free. By December, Oracle had bulked up the effort from 40 people to 176, “each of them billing between $US177 and $US374 per hour,” Budnick reported.
The site was supposed to cost $US43 million and be completed by Feb. 15, 2013. Oracle delivered a website in May, 2013, that wasn’t operational.
Oracle has also charged the state more than $US90 million over the last two years, and Cover Oregon has refused to pay invoices since September, Budnick reported.
The state had been enrolling people into health care programs by using paper forms. Recently, agents began using a password-protected beta website and has enrolled more than 700 people that way, Budnick reports.
But the site still doesn’t let citizens hop on the web and sign up for health care on their own.
Oracle has been taking heat for months. In December, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley went on television and blasted the company during an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd. Merkley said the site was “in complete dysfunction.”
It’s actually extremely common for huge IT projects have problems, even in the private market. In 2012, McKinsey released a landmark study that found, on average, 66% of large software projects run over budget while being late and not delivering all of the promised functionality.
Last month Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber commissioned an independent review to determine what went wrong in this case and if Oregon should sue Oracle, reports news site KGW.com.
We reached out to Oracle for comment and will update when we hear bck. Oracle declined comment on the story published by the Oregonian.