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White House Reportedly Dismissing Key Healthcare.gov Contractor 284

Posted by Soulskill
from the assigning-blame dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Months after a problem-riddled rollout of the Healthcare.gov Website, the White House is dismissing a key contractor, CGI Federal, that built much of the portal, according to The Washington Post. The newspaper suggested the federal government is on the verge of signing a new contract with a replacement, Accenture, which has some experience in building online health-insurance portals on the state level. 'We are in discussions with potential clients all the time but it is not appropriate to discuss with the media contracts we may or may not be discussing,' an Accenture spokesperson is quoted as saying. Unnamed sources 'familiar with the matter' informed the Post of CGI Federal's dismissal, and suggested that it has much to do with continuing anger over the botched introduction of Healthcare.gov, as well as the pace of continuing repairs to the Website. As their contract is due to expire anyway at the end of February, government officials reportedly decided that it was the perfect time to pull the plug with a minimum of legal ramifications."
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White House Reportedly Dismissing Key Healthcare.gov Contractor

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  • Re:Accenture? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday January 10, 2014 @03:46PM (#45919921) Journal

    No shit. [computerworld.com]

    (...wait, let me guess - they'll want to move the whole damned thing to an IIS platform too, right?)

  • Re:Accenture? (Score:5, Informative)

    by msobkow (48369) on Friday January 10, 2014 @03:47PM (#45919939) Homepage Journal

    No kidding. Accenture is one of the worst money-grabbing providers out there. They bring in the "top tech talent" for the initial meetings, then bill you the same rates for a horde of junior incompetents, and you never see that senior talent again.

  • Re:Accenture? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) on Friday January 10, 2014 @03:54PM (#45920025)
    I have never known Accenture to do anything successfully. I worked for a company a few years ago that brought Accenture in to take over running their IT. It was supposed to speed up issue resolution, make experts available, and be less expensive.
    No, no, and NO! Plus they used getting this as a way to get their foot in the door, and then got their people into everything they could. The company is slowly failing.
    I went out and celebrated the day I got my layoff.
  • by danlip (737336) on Friday January 10, 2014 @03:58PM (#45920069)

    Accenture already did the California implementation. And they've already had time to work out the problem. Hopefully they wrote that code so it could easily be reused for the federal site (since it is Accenture, that may be a slim hope).

  • Re:Accenture? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday January 10, 2014 @04:01PM (#45920115) Journal

    There is nothing wrong with the IIS platform. Accenture is the issue. The vast majority of their PM team cannot find their dick with both hands.

    Never said it was wrong or right - but it's a common trick with large contractors to declare your existing platform obsolete, insecure, or underpowered, and (after you signed the contract) demand that you shove over to their preferred platform. Of course, they'll point to some esoteric half-hidden legalese thing in the contract that your non-tech legal department completely glossed over, and you never got to see.

    This means they get extra money, more time to ETA, and they move you to whatever they're more comfortable with. It also has the danger of locking you in even tighter come the next contract renewal.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 10, 2014 @04:11PM (#45920207)

    Yes and not really.
    Yes: everything is being paid for by government issued bonds and similar forms of federal debt.

    Not really: while bonds do have a cash-in date, the number of bonds issued each year increases by significantly more than the needed payout.

    There's also some very interesting accounting that a large portion of the federal debt is in bonds owned by the federal government ("I owe me" is apparently a viable trick if no one is ever recognized as having sufficient standing to oversee the books)

  • Re:Accenture? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Billly Gates (198444) on Friday January 10, 2014 @04:11PM (#45920209) Journal

    Could be worse.

    If you think Accenture are incompetent vandals try to get anything done with IBM?

    They charge so much for the tiniest things and then call me about jobs to admin these systems for $24,000 a year. No I am seriously not exaggerating that either as they wanted to pay me $12/hr for a millions of dollar contracts for such systems.

    Great value these poor schmucks are getting for that price.

  • by Dahamma (304068) on Friday January 10, 2014 @04:14PM (#45920247)

    Technically the 65,915,796 residents who voted for Obama in the 2012 election?

    And, as it turns out, many Republicans as well - they are just too ignorant of the actual ACA or brainwashed by their party leaders to realize they support most of the major provisions...

    http://articles.latimes.com/2013/oct/01/business/la-fi-mh-obamacare-20131001 [latimes.com]

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Friday January 10, 2014 @04:20PM (#45920331)
    From the congressional testimony, http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/24/politics/congress-obamacare-website/ [cnn.com]:

    "In the first detailed account of what happened, officials of four contractors involved in the website creation described a convoluted system of multiple companies operating separately under the oversight of CMS, a part of the Department of Health and Human Services. Each said their individual components generally performed as planned after internal testing, but all conceded that CMS failed to conduct sufficient "end-to-end" testing of the entire system before the launch ... an end-to-end test conducted within two weeks of the launch caused the system to crash. She said it was up to CMS to decide on proceeding with the rollout."

    "... blamed a decision by CMS within two weeks of the launch to require users to fully register in order to browse for health insurance products, instead of being able to get information anonymously, as originally planned."

    The preceding should not be interpreted to mean that the contractor did good work. That may have been a problem as well. My point is that government officials were basically sabotaging their project through mismanagement. It appears that politicians were in control.
  • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Friday January 10, 2014 @04:52PM (#45920703)

    In a company of 280,000+ employees, Accenture has the capacity and expertise to make the IT side of the government healthcare offerings work.

    Pull the other one.

    Most of Accenture's tech employees are Indians with inflated (or fraudulent) credentials.

  • Re:knee jerk (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 10, 2014 @04:56PM (#45920751)

    By design / sabotage... http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/09/28/330524/postal-non-crisis-post-office-save-itself/

    "... what has been lost in the political debate over the Post Office is why it is losing this money. Major media coverage points to the rise of email or Internet services and the inefficiency of the post model as the major culprits. While these factors may cause some fiscal pain, almost all of the postal service’s losses over the last four years can be traced back to a single, artificial restriction forced onto the Post Office by the Republican-led Congress in 2006.
    At the very end of that year, Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA). Under PAEA, USPS was forced to “prefund its future health care benefit payments to retirees for the next 75 years in an astonishing ten-year time span” — meaning that it had to put aside billions of dollars to pay for the health benefits of employees it hasn’t even hired yet, something “that no other government or private corporation is required to do.”
    As consumer advocate Ralph Nader noted, if PAEA was never enacted, USPS would actually be facing a $1.5 billion surplus today:
    By June 2011, the USPS saw a total net deficit of $19.5 billion, $12.7 billion of which was borrowed money from Treasury (leaving just $2.3 billion left until the USPS hits its statutory borrowing limit of $15 billion). This $19.5 billion deficit almost exactly matches the $20.95 billion the USPS made in prepayments to the fund for future retiree health care benefits by June 2011. If the prepayments required under PAEA were never enacted into law, the USPS would not have a net deficiency of nearly $20 billion, but instead be in the black by at least $1.5 billion."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 10, 2014 @05:16PM (#45920971)

    Accenture also produced the myCalPERS webapp used by California state employees to access and change information regarding their retirement accounts and fringe benefits. From what I know about it from people on the inside, that app is a disaster that is being slowly cleaned up and fixed by state employees as part of the state taking over responsibility for its maintenance. Accenture does not have a good track record. But the documentation they produced is good.

  • by tsqr (808554) on Friday January 10, 2014 @07:12PM (#45922217)

    Where did that come from?

    "Individual income taxes and payroll taxes accounted for 82 percent of all federal revenues in fiscal year 2010. Corporate income taxes contributed another 9 percent. Excise taxes, estate and gift taxes, customs duties, and miscellaneous receipts (earnings of the Federal Reserve System and various fees and charges) made up the balance."
    -- What are the federal government’s sources of revenue? [taxpolicycenter.org]

  • by MrBigInThePants (624986) on Friday January 10, 2014 @08:18PM (#45922711)

    Its really funny you cannot answer that question yourself....

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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