January 10, 2014, 12:04 pm
Report: Administration fires O-Care contractor
By Elise Viebeck
The Obama administration is terminating its technology contract with CGI Federal, one of the main firms behind the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov, according to a report.
The move by federal health officials comes after calls for the White House to crack down on mismanagement that led to massive, persistent problems with the site.
Montreal-based CGI Federal was responsible for the back end of HealthCare.gov, where users create accounts and determine their eligibility for coverage. Both functions were badly flawed when the site debuted on Oct. 1.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) failed to confirm the decision, first reported by The Washington Post but said that officials are working with contractors to ensure HealthCare.gov operates smoothly.
"We continually evaluate our needs and remain focused on ensuring consumers have access to affordable, quality coverage, and more than 1.1 million already have enrolled in a private plan in the federal Marketplace," said a spokesperson for CMS.
The news comes amid declining focus on the ObamaCare enrollment site, which improved substantially for users as of late December.
The administration launched a "tech surge" during fall, in which fixes by CGI Federal were overseen by QSSI, another contractor deemed more able to shore up the website.
The system's massive, prolonged stumble out of the gate plunged the White House into a political firestorm that lasted months and cut into President Obama's approval rating.
Problems with the system might also pose a challenge to the administration, as it seeks to net millions more enrollments by the end of March, and to consumers as they seek to use their coverage.
Obama vowed to improve the federal contracting system as a result of the rollout's failures, but both Republicans and Democrats have called for him take a step further and make heads roll within the administration.
CGI's apparent firing is the most public move to lay blame so far, as the White House has not specifically fired anyone over the problems at HealthCare.gov.
The contractor will be replaced by global consulting firm Accenture, which is preparing to sign a 12-month contract worth roughly $90 million with the administration, the Post reported.