NPR Story
4:32 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Oregon Lawmakers Try To Avoid Another Cover Oregon Fiasco

Oregon lawmakers say they want to avoid another high-profile tech blunder like the problems facing the state's online health insurance exchange.

Both the House and the Senate Tuesday approved measures in reaction to the ongoing problems at Cover Oregon.

The website for Oregon's health insurance exchange still isn't fully functional, and that’s months after programmers were supposed to have it up and running.

There's an independent review of the beleaguered project under way, but Oregon lawmakers say they want to prevent future problems. The Oregon Senate approved a bill that aims to beef up oversight of IT projects. And the House passed a measure to extend whistleblower protections to Cover Oregon employees. It also expanded the governor's power to remove Cover Oregon board members.

Democratic state representative Shemia Fagan said the legislation isn't meant to be a cure-all for Cover Oregon. But, she added, "This bill does create tools so as soon as know what happened and who caused it, swift action can be taken on behalf of Oregonians."

Critics said the measures do too little, too late.

Both bills head to the opposite chamber for additional votes.

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