The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has recently chosen Accenture as replacement to CGI Federal, which is the current lead contractor for the controversial Obamacare enrolment online site. This is not a surprising move as the program has been receiving rants and criticisms since it was launched in October due to poor technical support.
CGI Federal created the site HealthCare.gov, which had been plagued by slow speeds and error messages for several weeks following its launch. Those online glitches even incurred massive political crisis for the White House because it is one of the major projects of the Obama administration.
The problems even threatened the roll out of the signature healthcare legislation. Not surprisingly, it was even cited by Republican foes as a possible ground for the law’s repeal.
For its part, and seemingly to save face, CGI Federal released a statement last Friday (January 10). It simply asserted that its contract with the government is scheduled to expire on February 28. That deal was awarded to the company in 2011. CGI Federal simply stated that the expiring contract ‘will not be renewed.’
At the height of the controversy regarding the Obamacare glitches, President Barack Obama once said that the fiasco has made him intend to overhaul the government process of buying technology services. Most critics think that the current system only favors larger and more established contractors like CGI.
The Website has been significantly improved, but still is not totally spared from occasional technical glitches. The improvement has enabled over 1.1 million US citizens to find and buy insurance through HealthCare.gov by the end of last year. That figure was large but it still fell short of original estimates.
Accenture takes over
Meanwhile, Accenture is obviously proud to be awarded the contract. It has disclosed that the deal could be worth $45 million for the project’s initial phase. However, some analysts estimate the final value of the year-long contract to reach up to $90 million.
The company promises to use its expertise to build large-scale and continuous improvements to HealthCare.gov. It also commits to bring forth deeper insight into the healthcare industry.
The government has set a March 31 deadline for the signing up of health insurance programs under the Affordable Care Act this year. This may mean that Accenture would take over during a period when the government most needs to make the Website functional.
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