After months of frustrating delays and connectivity issues, the federal government announced Friday it is cutting ties with the primary contractor responsible for HealthCare.gov.
The decision was announced by Ceneters for Medicare and Medicaid Services spokesperson Aaron Albright, who indicated the agency is “working with our contract partners to make a mutually agreed upon transition to ensure that HealthCare.gov continues to operate smoothly for consumers.”
The contractor in question, CGI Federal, has come under fire previously for the long-term relationship between a high-level official and Michelle Obama. Another contractor, Quality Software Services Inc., was recently called to task for its vice-president’s substantial donations to Obama’s presidential campaign.
The major issue, however, has revolved around the utter failure and exorbitant cost of the website’s rollout Oct. 1. Though usability has increased in recent weeks, prospective applicants encountered various issues for at least the first two months.
In addition to consistent error messages, applications that never reached insurers, and ridiculously protracted wait times, experts warned of the increased risk of users having their personal information stolen by hackers.
Reports indicate Accenture will replace CGI as the lead contractor in the $90 million project. The shift is expected to be complete by next week.
“We continually evaluate our needs and remain focused on ensuring consumers have access to affordable, quality coverage,” Albright said, “and more than 1.1 million already have enrolled in a private plan in the federal marketplace.”
Of course, that number is far below the 7 million enrollees Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius set as a goal upon the end of open enrollment in March.
Despite the fact that HealthCare.gov has operated more effectively in recent weeks, there has been little indication that individuals have grown fonder of the policies being sold there. No matter what fixes the administration plans for the website, ObamaCare remains a loser in the eyes of millions of Americans.
–B. Christopher Agee
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