Report: O-Care contractor overconfident

A contractor responsible for building Healthcare.gov expressed confidence in several website features prior to launch that wound up unworkable, according to a new report.

Documents obtained by The Washington Post indicate that the contractor, CGI Federal, told federal officials they were highly confident that several website features would be ready by the Oct. 1 launch. Many of those features wound up unworkable by the time the site went public.

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The documents also show that a “pre-flight checklist,” put together a week before the site’s launch by CMS, found that 41 of 91 separate functions that CGI was responsible for completing were still not working.

A separate spreadsheet compiled by CGI on the day of the launch revealed that the contractor admitted to roughly 30 defects on the site that should have been completed, including five labeled “critical.” One example of a critical flaw in the site was an erroneous message that applications were incomplete for people who had completed the application, exited the site, and then tried to sign back in.

The documents paint a further picture of how a central public feature of the president’s signature healthcare law suffered such a rocky start. The numerous errors and nonfunctionality of the site has reinvigorated a host of GOP complaints about the law, and a slew of hearings where lawmakers have demanded answers from administration officials.

Federal officials said CGI often delivered components of the site on time, but with coding that was either faulty or collapsed when several thousand people tried to access that particular feature at once.

Notes from an Aug. 22 meeting between federal officials and CGI employees indicated that concerns about the site were already in place by then. At the meeting, one federal official emphasized that the space was a “blame-free zone,” and then said called for the parties to be honest and open with each other discussing the project. A CGI executive acknowledged that the firm had to win trust back, according to those notes.

CGI, through a spokesperson, declined to comment to the Post on the story, citing previous comments from a CGI executive stating that the company does not comment on individual contracts.