The federal government skipped key contracting requirements when awarding hundreds of millions of dollars to build the troubled HealthCare.gov site, according to an inspector general’s report.
The investigation published Tuesday by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health & Human Services found the federal government failed to probe fully the past performance of CGI Federal Inc., a subsidiary of a Canadian information technology firm, before awarding it a contract to construct basic parts of the insurance enrollment site.
Federal officials also drafted agreements that left the government on the hook for whatever it cost contractors to complete their work, investigators said. Several big contracts including CGI’s ballooned to twice or three times the estimated cost.
HealthCare.gov is the main platform for people to buy insurance under the 2010 Affordable Care Act and apply for tax credits toward the cost of their coverage.
The report of work carried out by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the HHS unit tasked with building the site, paints a picture of rushed and sloppy activity with poor oversight that didn’t meet the agency’s standards. The site launched in 2013 with many problems that initially crippled enrollments by consumers.
Officials from HHS and CMS told the inspector general they concurred with the recommendations in the report. A CGI spokeswoman didn’t comment.