Feds Reviewed Only One Bid For Obamacare Website Design
Published October 14, 2013
By: Richard Pollock (Washington Examiner)
Federal officials considered only one firm website designers to design the Obamacare health insurance exchange website that has performed abysmally since its Oct. 1 debut.
Rather than open the contracting process to a competitive public solicitation with multiple bidders, officials in the Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid accepted a sole bidder, CGI Federal, the U.S. subsidiary of a Canadian company with an uneven record of IT pricing and contract performance.
CMS officials are tight-lipped about why CGI was chosen or how it happened. They also refuse to say if other firms competed with CGI, or if there was ever a public solicitation for building Healthcare.gov, the backbone of Obamacares problem-plagued web portal.
Instead, it appears they used what amounts to a federal procurement system loophole to award the work to the Canadian firm.
CGI was one of 16 companies that had been qualified by HHS during President George W. Bush's second term to deliver, without public competition, a variety of hardware, software and communication products and services.
In awarding the Healthcare.gov contract, CMS relied on a little-known federal contracting system called ID/IQ, which is government jargon for Indefinite Delivery and Indefinite Quantity.
CGI was a much smaller vendor when it was approved by HHS in 2007. With the approval, CGI became eligible for multiple awards without public notice and in circumvention of the normal competitive bidding procurement process.