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Oracle Businesses Government Medicine The Almighty Buck The Courts

Oregon Sues Oracle For "Abysmal" Healthcare Website 212

Posted by timothy
from the finest-consultants-in-the-land dept.
SpzToid (869795) writes The state of Oregon sued Oracle America Inc. and six of its top executives Friday, accusing the software giant of fraud for failing to deliver a working website for the Affordable Care Act program. The 126-page lawsuit claims Oracle has committed fraud, lies, and "a pattern of activity that has cost the State and Cover Oregon hundreds of millions of dollars". "Not only were Oracle's claims lies, Oracle's work was abysmal", the lawsuit said. Oregon paid Oracle about $240.3 million for a system that never worked, the suit said. "Today's lawsuit clearly explains how egregiously Oracle has disserved Oregonians and our state agencies", said Oregon Atty. Gen. Ellen Rosenblum in a written statement. "Over the course of our investigation, it became abundantly clear that Oracle repeatedly lied and defrauded the state. Through this legal action, we intend to make our state whole and make sure taxpayers aren't left holding the bag."

Oregon's suit alleges that Oracle, the largest tech contractor working on the website, falsely convinced officials to buy "hundreds of millions of dollars of Oracle products and services that failed to perform as promised." It is seeking $200 million in damages. Oracle issued a statement saying the suit "is a desperate attempt to deflect blame from Cover Oregon and the governor for their failures to manage a complex IT project. The complaint is a fictional account of the Oregon Healthcare Project."
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Oregon Sues Oracle For "Abysmal" Healthcare Website

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  • *nelson laugh* (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 23, 2014 @01:21PM (#47737089)

    HAHA!
    I hope they get it good... bastards.

  • Deflect Blame? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZeroSerenity (923363) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `50camrog'> on Saturday August 23, 2014 @01:45PM (#47737229) Homepage Journal
    "is a desperate attempt to deflect blame from Cover Oregon and the governor for their failures to manage a complex IT project." It shouldn't be their job, that's what they paid you for.
  • Re:Reputation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoKaOi (1415755) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @01:51PM (#47737263)

    I don't know if Oregon's suit has merit or not, but that sure sounds like my employer's experience with Oracle.

    This is pretty much SOP with any big custom system from a big company. Sure, they'll check off the boxes of the requirements, but it'll never work right until you fork over triple what the original contract was for, for "additional implementation." It's essentially extortion because at that point the organization is so many millions of dollars into it that they're willing to spend millions more to make it functional.

    I'm very pleased that Oregon is not succumbing to this extortion and are fighting back. Oracle has claimed in the press that it was because the state added additional requirements midstream, but the problem isn't that they didn't implement those additional requirements, it's that they never delivered a functioning product, thus they did not fulfill a single requirement. Even if "it works" wasn't a specific requirement, it should be implied by the existence of any requirement which in itself requires the system to be functional. I hope Oregon gets back every penny they gave to Oracle, and I hope there's a legal reason they can get some massive penalties too.

  • Re:Reputation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Livius (318358) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @01:54PM (#47737293)

    No, they go one better - be the most *expensive* bid, thereby convincing clueless MBAs of the superiority of your product, and then proceed to overcharge, delay, etc.

    Car analogy: They sell you the most expensive car ever. Then tell you the engine costs extra. And then tell you the petrol tank is extra. And by the way don't put regular petrol in it, only aviation fuel. And isn't that logarithmic-scale odometer so much more science-y than those other brands of cars?

  • Re:It's a complot (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sound+vision (884283) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @02:04PM (#47737355) Journal
    This mishmash of overlapping but non-integrating state, federal, and private health care systems, each party taking their cut and adding another layer of inefficiency, is "decent health care"?
  • Re:Reputation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by umdesch4 (3036737) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @02:20PM (#47737437)
    Have you seen SAP?
  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @02:27PM (#47737475)

    A big part of the blame should go to Oregon for trying to start with a big, complex site. Of all the states that implement Obamacare Insurance Exchanges, Oregon's is widely considered the worst, after spending $240M. Kentucky's is widely considered the best. It was ready on day one, and has run without major problems since. Kentucky spent about $8M, or 3% of what Oregon spent. Software development works best with a small, lean team of good developers. Before embarking on this project, the Oregon governor should have read The Mythical Man Month [wikipedia.org].

  • by PrimaryConsult (1546585) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @02:29PM (#47737481)

    That's what we do with Oracle and we're actually doing pretty well with them. We only let them build the dev environment, train our staff, and create documentation. The other environments are built entirely by the people they trained using the documentation provided, and once we are confident we can rebuild the system even if Oracle vanished off the face of the earth, we send the consultants on their way. This approach should be done with *any* vendor though.

  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Saturday August 23, 2014 @02:32PM (#47737493) Homepage Journal

    And to top it off, somebody in Oregon selected Oracle to be their vendor in the first place. I'll eagaerly await the replies here from folks whose experience with Oracle was that they were on-time, on-budget, went above-and-beyond in the name of customer service, and were a pleasure to work with. Too bad no company in the entire state of Oregon was qualified to build a database-backed website!

  • Re: absurd (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wizden (965907) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @02:55PM (#47737569)
    I understand the challenges but I maintain that it's not 240 million bucks worth of difficult.
  • by cold fjord (826450) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @04:51PM (#47738209)

    "... a recent General Accounting Office report on U.S. military equipment procurement concluded that only 1% of major military purchases involving high technology were delivered on time and on budget."

    That book says the problem is due to a sociological mistake. My understanding is that it is entirely intended, a way of making money from the largely hidden military purchases of the U.S. government. For the U.S. government, killing people is an enormous, extremely profitable business.

    The book is wrong, it isn't a "sociological mistake." The problems tend to come from changing requirements (from the gov and events), under bidding (by the company), stop and start funding and various directives (from the Congress), legal challenges from the losing competitors, and the nature of the procurement system.

    And no, killing people is not "an enormous, extremely profitable business" for the government. It is quite the opposite.

  • by buybuydandavis (644487) on Saturday August 23, 2014 @11:49PM (#47740259)

    Healthcare should have never been allowed to become for profit.

    You win the Thug of the Day award. Yes, people shouldn't be *allowed* to exchange value for value based on their own preferences. The government should step in and shoot them. Yay! What a Brave New World!

  • by buybuydandavis (644487) on Sunday August 24, 2014 @12:21AM (#47740365)

    Manual overrides are key to most designs, particularly in new systems.

    It's not going to all work perfectly. Not gonna happen. Make sure a person can brute force a solution. You can automate more when the requirements are better understood, and have stabilized.

    The goal should be a *process* that works, whatever the tech, and that includes *people*.

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