Oracle Corp., the primary developer responsible for setting up Oregon’s Obamacare health-insurance exchange website, sued the state claiming it’s owed $23 million.

The lawsuit escalates a dispute with Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, who in May asked the state attorney general to take legal action against the company in an attempt to recoup the state’s payments.

Kitzhaber, a 67-year-old Democrat who has come under political attack on the issue as he seeks a fourth term, has been trading blame with Oracle over the failure to create a website that Oregonians could use to enroll in health coverage under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

Technical flaws in the Cover Oregon website, the portal to a $305 million state-run insurance exchange, caused thousands of consumers to file paper applications until the state gave up in April and directed enrollees to the federal website.

-- Oracle Sues Oregon for $23 Million Over Health Exchange Claims Source

I think as means at the same time as... here.

But if we used "is seeking" instead of "seeks", it would coerce a reading of "because he is seeking a fourth term". See Dan Getz's answer which states:

The way it is written in the article, it means "at the same time as he is seeking a fourth term". With "is seeking", it means "because he is seeking a fourth term".

Why is this?

  • I think if you substitute while for as it might make more sense.
    – user3169
    Aug 17, 2014 at 15:36

1 Answer 1


The shortest words can sometimes be the trickiest. As has many different meanings and can be an adverb, conjunction, pronoun, or preposition.

The difference in meaning between "as he seeks a fourth term" and "as he is seeking a fourth term" is based completely on the reader's interpretation of the context. In either phrase "as" could mean "at the same time" or "because" and further reading is required to determine intention of the writer. In both phrases "as" is being used as a conjunction and if you look at the definitions of "as" that doesn't help you decide between it meaning "at the same time" or "because". Either meaning could be correct.

"I slipped on the ice as I was walking." and "I slipped on the ice as I walked." I would take both of those sentences to mean "at the same time" because that is how I hear it used most often in that context.

I could say however "I slipped on the ice as I was walking instead of waiting for help." or "I slipped on the ice as I walked instead of waiting for help." I probably would use "because" instead of "as" if I were speaking, however if I were writing and I wanted to convey a certain tone I might choose "as".

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