10:43 AM, Aug 26, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The federal government issued sixty contracts from 2009 to 2014 in efforts to build Healthcare.gov, the federal insurance marketplace. According to a report issued today by the inspector general (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the government had already paid out just under half a billion dollars by February 2014, five months after the beginning of open enrollment. The government is already under obligation for another $300 million, and the estimated value of the sixty contracts totals $1.7 billion. The OIG provided a summary of its findings:
The 60 contracts related to the development and operation of the Federal Marketplace started between January 2009 and January 2014. The purpose of the 60 contracts ranged from health benefit data collection and consumer research to cloud computing and Web site development. The original estimated values of these contracts totaled $1.7 billion; the contract values ranged from $69,195 to over $200 million. Across the 60 contracts, nearly $800 million has been obligated for the development of the Federal Marketplace as of February 2014. As of that date, CMS had paid nearly $500 million for the development of the Federal Marketplace to the contractors awarded these contracts.
A few familiar names appear on the list of contracts, such as Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin. Also appearing are CGI Federal, widely blamed for the botched roll out of the site last October, and Accenture Federal Services, which has taken over for CGI in hopes that this year's open enrollment will go better than 2013.
The inspector general presented the report on the contracts largely with commentary, instead noting that "[i]n the coming months, OIG will be issuing additional, indepth audits and evaluations that look more closely at contracting for the Federal Marketplace and will include, when appropriate, recommendations to resolve vulnerabilities we identify and/or build on promising approaches."
12:09 PM, May 7, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Six health insurance executives testified on Capitol Hill today. And all six, each representing a different company, unanimously agreed: The Obamacare website is still not entirely fixed.
The witnesses included Frank Coyne of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Mark Pratt of America’s Health Insurance Plans, Paul Wingle of Aetna, Brian Evanko of Cigna, J. Darren Rodgers of Health Care Service Corporation, and Dennis Matheis of Wellpoint, Inc.
'No One Likes to Watch the Daily Show Make Fun of HHS'
9:01 AM, May 1, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In October 2013, as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), was launching Healthcare.gov, CMS also launched a quieter initiative. As part of Ignite, an internal HHS program designed to spur innovation, a team within CMS's press office designed a system to help CMS communicate more quickly and efficiently with the press.
11:22 AM, Apr 11, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Kathleen Sebelius had one final glitch on her way out the door. At her resignation celebtration at the White House Rose Garden today, she was missing the final page from her prepared remarks:
"Unfortunately, a page is missing," Sebelius said. The crowd laughed.
7:05 AM, Mar 18, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Healthcare.gov has eliminated the web chat customer service option. Sometime around the beginning of March, the online chat feature that has been present since Healthcare.gov was launched disappeared.
12:48 PM, Mar 11, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The top referrer to Healthcare.gov right now is the website Funny or Die. That's according to White House senior communications advisor Tara McGuinness.
McGuinness tweeted, "http://FunnyorDie.com is the #1 source of referrals to http://HealthCare.gov right now."
9:05 AM, Mar 7, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Late last year the Wall Street Journal reported that Hewlett-Packard was replacing Verizon's Terremark subsidiary as the host of the federal government's Obamacare website, Healthcare.gov, when Terremark's contract expired in March 2014.
8:01 AM, Feb 25, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Details of the Healthcare.gov rescue in the fall of 2013 continue to dribble out via months-old contracts and modifications posted online.
7:07 AM, Jan 17, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that Accenture Federal Services would be taking over for CGI Federal as the main contractor for Healthcare.gov. CMS documents reveal that without the new estimated $91.1 million contract, the government could end up making "erroneous payments to providers and insurers" and that "the entire healthcare reform program [will be] jeopardized."
9:12 AM, Jan 6, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Six days into the new year and fourteen days after the extended December 23 deadline, the federal Obamacare website Healthcare.gov is still holding out hope of coverage beginning January 1 to some consumers.
9:51 AM, Dec 26, 2013 • By IKE BRANNON
After a month of trying, I still can't complete an application to join the D.C. Health Exchange. For a week, the Obamacare marketplace asked me to prove my citizenship, my daughter's existence, and my fixed address in the District of Columbia, but it would not allow me to submit the requested material.
8:34 AM, Dec 26, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
As the full breadth of the Healthcare.gov debacle became apparent, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) turned to the architect of the Federal Data Hub to lead the team of contractors to fix the woefully inadequate website that had disastrously launched just weeks before. As announced on October 25, Quality Software Services Inc. (QSSI), whose Data Hub turned out to be one of the better functioning systems of the Obamacare Marketplace, was named as the general contractor for the rescue effort. According to the Washington Post at the time, "details on the size of the contract were still being worked out."
7:36 AM, Dec 24, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama did not use Healthcare.gov to sign up for Obamacare. Instead, he sent his people to sign him up for the D.C. health care exchange in person.
As Politico reports:
Obama “was pleased to participate in a plan as a show of support for these marketplaces which are providing quality, affordable health care options to more than a million people,” the official added.