Technology

Government Grants More Contracts To IT Company That Created Obamacare Website

| by Khier Casino

CGI Federal Inc, the company responsible for creating a large part of the Affordable Care Act exchange website, which it says it is still trying to mend, has been granted several other government contracts since the disastrous roll out of healthcare.gov on Oct. 1.

FoxNews.com reports that the company has signed at least five other contracts with the government since the Oct. 1 launch for IT services. The agreements with CGI total $7 million.

CGI Federal defended the contracts it was awarded, saying the signing of the contract this month was a technicality and is an extension of a contract that already existed.

“CGI continues to deliver technology services and support under an existing contract agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce, Patent and Trademark Office,” according to Linda Odorisio, Vice President of Communications for CGI.

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“It is the type work that has contributed to CGI's solid history of delivery and service to its government clients for more than 35 years,” she added.

Healthcare.gov, the website created for people to shop for health care exchange under the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare, has been plagued with errors and outages since its roll out on Oct. 1, according to AL.com. The site has also prevented users in 36 states from enrolling or choosing a health care plan mandate. One of the main contractors for the exchange was CGI Federal.

The company was paid $290 million for setting up the website.

"We’ve had some issues with timely delivery," Marilyn Tavenner, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, acknowledged in testimony to Congress last week.

Criticism of the contracts spans both sides of the political aisle.

“I think it’s a problem,” said Alice Chen, who supports ObamaCare and is executive director of Doctors for America. “I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t.”

The contracts were also criticized by health policy experts.

“CGI Federal has no real skillset and a lot of the projects they've worked on have failed,” Avik Roy, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute who attended congressional hearings on the ObamaCare exchange failures, told FoxNews.com.

"In order to get through the procurement process of the federal government, you have to go through all these hoops. It's a highly organized thing just to meet all the regulatory standards. And so, the typical coders and programmers who would normally love to join a Google or a Facebook or whatever, they're never going to join a CGI Federal," he said blaming government bureaucracy.

CGI Federal Senior Vice President Cheryl Campbell defended the company’s performance in her Oct. 24 congressional testimony.

"From our perspective, as painful as it sounds -- I know that the experience has been a difficult experience -- the system is working. People are enrolling," Campbell said.

"Our People Get Government. Our People Get It Done.” is the website’s motto.

"There is no question that there are problems. And we are working together to solve those problems,” Campbell said.