The long legal nightmare that followed Oregon's failed attempt to build an online health-insurance exchange is over.
Gov. Kate Brown today announced a settlement with Oracle America, Inc., the contractor the state hired to build Cover Oregon, the failed $300 million health insurance website.
Brown says after three years, the state and Oracle agreed to "slay the many-headed dragon that the litigation had become."
The terms of the deal, first reported by The Oregonian, call for Oracle to provide $60 million in support and upgrades to state information technology systems; $25 million to the Oregon Department of Justice to defray legal bills (paid mostly to the Markowitz Herbold firm) and $10 million to the Oregon Community Foundation to be used for science, technology, engineering and math programs in Oregon schools.
"This is a great deal for the state of Oregon," Brown said at press conference this morning at the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry.
It's certainly a better deal for the state than an agreement Oracle claims it reached with Brown's administration last year. That deal was worth only $25 million (and state officials disputed there was ever such an agreement).
Certainly, the settlement is for far less than the $300 million spent on Cover Oregon and represents a small fraction of the $5.5 billion Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum asked for in a 2014 lawsuit she filed against Oracle.
In recent months, it's been an open secret that Brown and Rosenblum disagreed on the Oracle litigation. Brown, who was secretary of state and uninvolved in Cover Oregon, wanted to put the matter behind her.
Rosenblum, who sued Oracle at the behest of former Gov. John Kitzhaber, wanted to continue to pursue the software giant.
Rosenblum (who is married to the co-owner of WW's parent company) did not attend today's press conference. Brown said the attorney general was traveling.
At least one aspect of the settlement remains unresolved: the $300 million Oregon spent developing Cover Oregon was nearly all federal grant money.
Congressional Republicans have engaged in a wide-ranging investigation of what went wrong in Oregon and some of them in the past have suggested that any recovery the state might receive should go back into federal coffers.
Brown declined to address whether Oregon has an agreement from the feds to allow the state to keep the settlement proceeds, saying only that federal officials would be briefed after today's announcement.
There is also some irony in the state agreeing to accept $60 million in software and services from a company that it accused in court of incompetence and racketeering. Brown says that is not a concern.
"Oracle has incredible expertise and state has had good experience with their other products," Brown says.