Society

Two States Refuse To Pay Builder Of Obamacare Websites

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Massachusetts and Vermont have stopped payment to CGI Group, the same website contractor that built the federal health care exchange.

CGI Group made seven exchange sites for individual states.

Vermont says they did such a terrible job they want a refund. The Vermont site didn’t work until early December.

Vermont has paid $18.6 million of a $82.6 million contract with CGI. State officials are withholding $5.1 because they say the company failed to meet key deadlines.

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“I’ve lost confidence in the contractors that were supposed to deliver a fully functioning website on Oct. 1,” said Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin. “I’m going to continue to hold their feet to the fire until they get it right.”

Until recently, the Massachusetts site failed to enroll anyone. The state paid $11 million of a $69 million contract to CGI.

Officials in Massachusetts are reviewing legal options against the Montreal-based information company technology.

Jason Lefferts, spokesman for the state’s marketplace website Commonwealth Health Connector, said the state won’t pay CGI a penny more until they receive a functioning website.

“CGI has consistently underperformed, which is frustrating and a serious concern,” Lefferts said. “We are holding the vendor accountable for its underperformance and will continue to apply nonstop pressure to work to fix defects and improve performance.”

“There should be some financial accountability to the taxpayers who have funded this,” said Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, executive director of Health Care For All, a Boston-based health advocacy group.

CGI spokeswoman Linda Odorisio said the company is reviewing letters from Vermont signaling the intent to recover damages.

“CGI fully intends to honor the terms of its contract,” Odorisio said in a statement.

Sources: Boston Globe, Newser