(Oregonian (Portland, OR) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) March 04--A hardball ultimatum, a new round of glitches and possible helping hand. On Wednesday we'll do our best to answer reader questions about what has been an important week for the Cover Oregon health insurance exchange fiasco and people affected by it.
On Monday, Jeff Manning broke the news that Oracle Corp, the main IT vendor for the Cover Oregon health insurance exchange, threatened to walk away from the unfinished, over-budget project for lack of payment over disputed work. The software giant's demand worked, with Oregon agreeing to pay Oracle more than $43 million on top of $90 million already paid the firm.
Problems with the exchange have spilled over into low-income Oregonians' health plan, funded by the federal Medicaid program. Oregon Health Plan members, providers and state workers have faced a slew of difficulties.
In an intriguing interview, Carolyn Lawson, the Oregon Health Authority information-technology director tasked with delivering a working exchange to Cover Oregon, went public for the first time.
U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, both Democrats, joined Republicans calling for a federal probe of the exchange.
And last week, some people who lost out on discounted premiums because of the exchange's problems learned that they may be compensated retroactively.
Please start posting your questions below. Jeff Manning and I will check in on multiple occasions tomorrow and try to answer them throughout the day.
-- Nick Budnick and Jeff Manning
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