A House committee is investigating the widespread technical problems with the launch of the ObamaCare website, including the crony contractors that were paid hundreds of millions of dollars to fail at their creation.
People’s Pundit Daily previously reported on the cronyism involved with failed ObamaCare website, as well as the cost involved to the taxpayers, but now the House Energy and Commerce Committee is involved. Amid the dispute over the now-lifted partial government shutdown, lawmakers have been steadily firing off letters over the past week probing for answers to why the HealthCare.gov site was not fully operational when it launched on Oct. 1.
The House committee announced that they have scheduled a hearing on the issue for Oct. 24, asking Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to be present.
“Despite the widespread belief that the administration was not ready for the health law’s October 1 launch, top officials and lead IT contractors looked us in the eye and assured us all systems were a go,” Chairman Fred Upton, R-MI., said in a written statement.
The Michigan Republican lawmaker said the technical problems are now at “epidemic proportions” and that the American people “deserve to know what caused this mess.”
Criticism has focused on the company that received the bulk of the taxpayer money to help create the website — CGI Federal, a Maryland-based U.S. subsidiary of the Canadian firm CGI Group. According to the company’s own announcement, it secured a contract in late 2011 worth a total of $93.7 million, with the base value at $55.7 million.
Reports have ranged widely over how much money has ultimately been spent on the flawed site, via CGI and other contractors. Reuters reported on Thursday that the potential total value for CGI’s work has tripled, to nearly $292 million. People’s Pundit Daily has our own anaysis on the cost, which can be read here.
Upton and other Republican lawmakers on the committee recently wrote to CGI President Michael Roach questioning the company’s prior statements to the House committee, which claimed the implementation of the ObamaCare website exchanges achieved “all” its key milestones.
“As you are aware, the rollout process … has been problematic,” they wrote, raising concerns that the problems may be due to poor architecture. They asked for information on how the system was tested prior to the failed launch, an analysis of the current problems, and what they are planning to do now to fix it.
They also wrote to the head of Quality Software Services, Inc., which is another contractor who received money for the launch.
According to a Government Accountability Office report in June, Qualify Software Services received approximately $55 million for “related activities” on the ObamaCare website exchanges. In total, the GAO reported that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services pumped out $394 million from fiscal 2010 to March of this year to dozens of contractors in order to set up the so-called ObamaCare “exchanges” and perform other supposedly relevant projects.
Reuters reported Thursday that the CGI deal in 2011 grew out of a 2007 contract. A string of additional multi-million-dollar payments were approved this year; the company reportedly has been paid nearly $200 million to date, with the potential value of the contract reaching $292 million.
The additional work reportedly was agreed to in response to new requirements on the site.
From the start of the launch of the ObamaCare website, technical problems have prevented many Americans from even having the ability to enroll. Officials in the Obama administration say the operators are working “24/7” to correct the issues.
“Health care reform is more than a website,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday.
He said that while the site glitches are “unacceptable,” as is leaving millions without health insurance.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is also seeking enrollment figures from the Department of Health and Human Services. The administration so far has not released those figures.
A representative with CGI Group did not return a request for comment.