IT Contractor: ‘It Was Not Our Decision’ To Take Live

Software contractors involved in developing emphasized to House members during a Thursday oversight hearing that it was not their decision to launch the website on Oct. 1, as planned, stressing that the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services held that responsibility.

When Energy and Commerce Chair Fred Upton (R-MI) asked the witnesses if it was ever an option to postpone the launch beyond Oct. 1, none raised their hands.

“From a CGI perspective, our portion of the application worked as designed. People have been able to enroll, not at the pace or the experience we would have liked,” Cheryl Campbell, senior vice president at CGI Federal, told the committee “But the end to end testing was the responsibility of CMS. Our portion of the system is what we testify in terms of what was ready to go live. It was not our decision to go live.”

When pressed by Upton if the company ever recommended to HHS that they delay the website’s opening, Campbell repeated several times: “It was not our position” to give that advice.

“CMS had the ultimate authority for live go or no go decision, not CGI,” she said. “It is not our position to tell our client whether they should go live or not go live.”

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