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More accountability needed for future government projects

Recently, I talked with a young mother in my district that was trying to get her newborn baby enrolled in the Oregon Health Plan. As we talked about her situation, and I saw the love between mother and baby, I was reminded of my own family and the ups and downs I’ve seen in my life.

Making ends meet, paying for a visit to the doctor, and many other bumps in the road are familiar to most of the people in our community. And since I only recently became a great-grandmother for the second time myself, I know how scary it can be for a parent when she can’t provide for her children the way she’d like to.

That’s why I’ve been both encouraged and outraged over the recent Cover Oregon situation.

I’m encouraged because now, for the first time, thousands of Oregonians just like this young mother from my district have access to high-quality health care for themselves and their families. Children can get the preventive care they need when they need it, which is not only important for their future well-being but just makes common sense for our entire community.

But at the same time, I’m outraged that the rollout of the Cover Oregon website turned into such a mess. And that’s why I’ve supported recent legislation to prevent similar debacles in the future. The Legislature owes it to the taxpayers to make sure we do everything we can to make sure that your dollars are used wisely.

That’s why I strongly support House Bill 4122, which is aimed at ensuring better oversight and accountability for future state government computer projects.

This legislation requires an independent, outside audit of all large computer projects in the future. It’s this kind of accountability that likely would have prevented the Cover Oregon website debacle.

And as we address the problems with the website, let’s not lose sight of the most important thing here: Today, thousands of Oregonians have access to high-quality health care that they didn’t have just a few months ago.

As a person who grew up with no health care for many years, I truly understand what it’s like not being able to go to the doctor, getting a toothache taken care of or not getting glasses to see. I was fortunate. Thankfully, I got health care when I became a teacher at age 40. But it’s still a challenge to deal with a health issue from my early years. To know that thousands and thousands of Oregonians can and are getting health care is a tremendous relief for me.

So, please know that I’m doing my best to make sure that future computer projects follow the highest standards of accountability and efficiency. And I’m also working hard to help people like the young mom in my district get health care for their families.

Because in the end, that’s what this whole story is really all about.



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