WH dumps CGI Federal over Healthcare.gov disaster
posted at 11:59 am on January 10, 2014 by Ed Morrissey
Consider this a bit of a mixed message. The Obama administration has insisted for the last two months that the problems with Healthcare.gov have largely been resolved, and that the web portal is now working within acceptable parameters. Now, however, they’re canning the company that delivered the mess and supposedly fixed it, for not fixing it:
The Obama administration has decided to jettison CGI Federal, the main IT contractor that was responsible for building the defect-ridden online health insurance marketplace and has been immersed in the work of repairing it, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Federal health officials are preparing to sign a 12-month contract worth roughly $90 million, probably early next week, with a different company, Accenture, after concluding that CGI has not been effective enough in fixing the intricate computer system underpinning the federal Web site, HealthCare.gov, the individual said. …
At the start of December, administration officials announced that the Web site was largely working for consumers who wanted to enroll in health plans. But the site continues to malfunction in other ways. For instance, it is not yet able to automatically enroll people eligible for Medicaid in states’ programs, compute exact amounts to be sent to insurers for their customers’ federal subsidies, and tabulate precisely how many consumers have paid for their insurance premiums and are therefore actually covered.
According to officials familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision is not yet public, leaders of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — which oversees the online marketplace — became frustrated with the pace and quality of CGI’s work on the repairs. As federal officials and contractors have been trying to fix various aspects of the Web site in the past few months, about half of the new software code the company has written has failed on the first try, according to internal federal information.
In other words, it’s not fixed, and the people who brought us the big faceplant can’t handle the job at all. Instead, the administration will hire Accenture, a firm that has not done any work on a federal health-care system, to fix CGI Federal’s mess. And they will get paid $90 million to do so, which will boost the overall cost of the failing portal even more.
This fits very well with Democrat attempts to palm off the failure onto contractors. However, this should intensify scrutiny on HHS and the White House, not allow it to subside. Why didn’t the administration keep a close eye on the project, which was only the central policy achievement of the Obama presidency? How did CGI Federal’s failures go so long undetected by the administrators of ObamaCare? And now, we can add to those questions some new ones about why the White House didn’t bring in new contractors immediately when it became apparent that CGI Federal was too incompetent to fix its own work — even when the White House appointed Jeffrey Zients as the “rescue czar.”
And why did they announce more than a month ago that all was well?
CGI Federal should only be the start. Why hasn’t anyone inside the administration been fired for incompetence?