HealthCare.gov Architect Still Getting Federal Money While States Cut It Off

Two states have said they’re cutting off payments to a company that helped construct their Obamacare websites, the same company that was the lead on HealthCare.gov.

But federal officials told TPM that they’re not yet planning to take any similar action, though a review process is underway.

The Boston Globe reported Monday that Massachusetts and Vermont were stopping their payments to CGI Federal, one of the technology firms that worked on their sites. Massachusetts has said it wouldn’t pay any more of its $69 million contract with the company until its site is fully functional. $11 million has been paid to date. Vermont officials have told CGI that they are withholding a $5.1 million payment because the company missed deadlines and plan to dispute another $1 million in payments.

“I’ve lost confidence in the contractors that were supposed to deliver a fully functioning website on Oct. 1,” Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin told the Globe. “I’m going to continue to hold their feet to the fire until they get it right.”

But, though administration officials have largely placed the blame for HealthCare.gov’s disastrous launch on the failure of CGI and other contractors, they have not yet taken any action related to contract payments.

Some $319 million has been spent thus far on the federal website. CGI has a contract worth $94 million for its work on the site, according to the Globe.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced earlier in December that she had asked the HHS Inspector General to review the website’s development. The review is expected to include “the performance of contracts by our contractors … payments to contractors throughout the process … whether contract specifications were met.”

“We must take steps to ensure that our contractors are well managed, and that they fulfill their commitments and provide good services and products for our tax dollars,” Sebelius wrote. “We will take action to address the Inspector General’s findings.

Officials confirmed to TPM that the administration plans to wait for the report’s recommendations before deciding what, if any, action to take related to contractor payments.

Sebelius has already cast blame for the website’s failures on contractors during her testimony before Congress, while CGI executives attempted to put the feds at fault in their own appearances on Capitol Hill.

“To build the marketplace, CMS used private sector contractors, just as it does to administer aspects of Medicare,” Sebelius said on Oct. 30 before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Unfortunately, a subset of those contracts for HealthCare.gov have not met expectations.”

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