It was a system that the President claimed millions of people would go to in search of health insurance yet the website was unable to handle millions of users.
CGI Federal is the company that was the designated lead on creating and maintaining the website portal for the Affordable Care Act. By all accounts, CGI has failed to accomplish that task, despite having been paid $54 million to do so.
Some have started to question how and why a little known company was awarded such a high profile contract.
Through a series of small company acquisitions they grew large enough to bid on and be awarded large contracts, including $1.4 billion in awards by the
In 2010, CGI purchased American military IT company Stanley, Inc. for $1.1 billion, which was the start of highly accelerated U.S. government contract work.
CGI previously worked on healthcare sites in
The IT company’s $46.2 million contract was cancelled by Ehealth on September 5, 2012.
Based on CGI’s poor prior experience in the health services in
The Department of Health and Human Services has denied that there was only one bidder for the Obamacare exchange.
According to an information technology manager, government contracts are often awarded based on lowest price.
Although lowest bid can be a final deciding factor, pre-existing relationship with the government agency and prior similar work is also highly regarded in the federal contracts decision process.
According to a source who is involved in writing proposals to compete for federal work, even if there were only one company that submitted a proposal for requested work by the government, the
Although the source did clarify that if a company is already doing similar work for an agency, a contact can be awarded to that company to expand that work.
Scribd.com published the contract award to CGI Federal which seems to show that the government awarded the contract to CGI after receiving bids from four companies. This suggests there was in fact a competition for the contract.
As far as the effect on CGI so far, their failure on such a high profile project has seemed to have had very little impact.
In the past month, the CGI Group (USA) stock price has hardly changed at all with a high just over $37 and low of $35 and the high being hit on October 16, sixteen days after the unsuccessful start date of the website.
It is yet to be seen if the publicity this failure has received will affect CGI Federal from receiving additional federal contracts.
At a press conference, President Obama called for CGI to bring in their “A-Team” to resolve these computer problems. In the meantime, he encouraged those who have been unable to access information through the website to instead access the information through a call center with a phone number.
Even the phone number comes with challenges. Two of the security questions required during the initial phone call are:
- The name of maternal grandfather. Some callers need a few minutes to recall that name.
- Name of favorite video game. Another question that could give some callers pause.
According to a gentleman who went through the phone process and was interviewed by The Blaze, even when the phone call is completed, the caller’s coverage status is unclear. There will be an email or letter arriving by postal service to inform the applicant of their coverage status.
The parking lot at the CGI building on
Senator Marco Rubio has announced that he is going to introduce a bill requiring the Affordable Care Act be shut down until the website is up and running and is glitch free for a period of six months.
All will be watching to see if those who originally tried to access information or receive information from the malfunctioning website, continue to jump through the hoops required or if they will become discouraged and give up.
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