Former Obama Spokesman Gibbs: Obamacare Rollout has been ‘Excruciatingly Embarrassing’
October 14, 2013 - 10:54 am
Awkward! MSNBC host Alex Wagner had to deal with a little bit of reality today when former Obama White House spokesman Robert Gibbs admitted that Obamacare’s first couple of weeks have been an embarrassing failure.
“This was bungled badly,” Gibbs admitted, adding that some people need to be fired over the ongoing failure of Healthcare.gov to function. Gibbs even admitted that heavy traffic has not caused the failure. Rather, the site failed because of the way it was built. “This is excruciatingly embarrassing for the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services,” Gibbs said.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whose department oversaw the creation of the Obamacare portal, still has her job. To date, no one has been fired over the botched Obamacare rollout.
Supporters of Obamacare have a new scandal to deal with related to the president’s signature law. Richard Pollock reports that CGI Federal was the only company that the federal government ever considered to build Healthcare.gov.
Rather than open the contracting process to a competitive public solicitation with multiple bidders, officials in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid accepted a sole bidder, CGI Federal, the U.S. subsidiary of a Canadian company with an uneven record of IT pricing and contract performance.
CMS officials are tight-lipped about why CGI was chosen or how it happened. They also refuse to say if other firms competed with CGI, or if there was ever a public solicitation for building Healthcare.gov, the backbone of Obamacare’s problem-plagued web portal.
Instead, it appears they used what amounts to a federal procurement system loophole to award the work to the Canadian firm.
In awarding the Healthcare.gov contract, CMS relied on a little-known federal contracting system called ID/IQ, which is government jargon for “Indefinite Delivery and Indefinite Quantity.”
CGI was a much smaller vendor when it was approved by HHS in 2007. With the approval, CGI became eligible for multiple awards without public notice and in circumvention of the normal competitive bidding procurement process.
The multiple awards were in the form of “task orders” for projects of widely varying size. Over the life of the CGI contract — which expires in 2017 — the IT firm can receive awards worth anywhere from the “$1,000 to $4 billion,” according to a contracting document provided by CGI to the Washington Examiner.
This is apparently the route chosen by CMS officials in awarding the Obamacare Healthcare.gov website design contract to CGI.
Between 2009 and 2013, CMS officials awarded 185 separate task orders to CGI totaling $678 million for work of all kinds, according to USAspending.gov, a federal spending database.The Obamacare website design contract was for $93 million.
Much more at the link.
Was the bidding process corrupt?