Cover Oregon: Possible Criminal Fraud

You remember Cover Oregon, right? It’s the Obamacare website that has essentially singed up zero people. All the enrollments have come via old school paper applications. The website is really still not working (not that the federal website is fully working correctly, either). Now we learn (via The Blaze)

(KATU) You already know the process that led to the failed rollout of the Cover Oregon website was bad.

But was it criminally bad?

Former Republican state Rep. Patrick Sheehan told the KATU Investigators he has gone to the FBI with allegations that Cover Oregon project managers initiated the design of dummy web pages to convince the federal government the project was further along than it actually was.

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If Sheehan’s allegations are true, those managers could face time in jail for fraud.

Essentially, it looks as if those in charge of building the website were playing games in order to keep the federal funds flowing, even getting the funds (US taxpayer funds) increased from $48 million to $59 million.

To keep the money flowing, the website would have to hit specific benchmarks between 2011 and 2013. The state needed to show the feds it had picked a company to provide software and technical assistance; it had to demonstrate that the website was safe from hackers; and, most importantly, it had to show that people could actually sign up for insurance on the website. (snip)

(Carolyn) Lawson (the IT pro in charge of the project to build the website), however, chose to use an “iterative” approach. This time, imagine an extremely blurry picture of a whole car. With each iteration, the picture grows a little more clear.

What that meant for the Cover Oregon website was that it was able to paint a picture of a flashy website — imagine a concept car that looks flashy in the showroom but doesn’t actually run.

Make sure to read the full article, which shows all the smoke and mirrors used to make the website look super awesome, even demonstrating it for CMS, which thought her design was awesome.

“That could have been the smoke and mirrors that they were showing everyone which was not a live demo,” Sheehan said. “It would just be wire frames or a mock up.

“If they were able to connect the dots and if it’s true, someone’s going to prison. It would be fraud. It would be the State of Oregon, actually, willfully, misrepresenting something for federal funding.”

Here’s a thought: Los Federales were spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on the State exchange websites to get them up and running, including the utter failure of Cover Oregon. Did no one think to actually audit these sites? To have people come in and really look at things? Look at the code? They did a poor job with the federal website, so we shouldn’t be shocked in the least about what happened with Cover Oregon.

BTW, KATU wants to know what the Governor, John Kitzhaber knew about the failed website and when. He deflected and failed, and, by his own words, wasn’t involved at all, much like Obama and Kathleen Sebelius.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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