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HHS Asks Verizon To Fix Its Obama-Care Website

From USA Today:

HHS brings in Verizon to help HealthCare.gov

By Alistair Barr, Kelly Kennedy and Jayne O’Donnell | October 21, 2013

WASHINGTON — The international telecommunications company Verizon has been tasked with helping the government fix the federal health exchange, USA TODAY has learned.

How peculiar. We thought the government could do anything. And do it better than the private sector.

An informed source in the telecommunications industry said Verizon’s Enterprise Solutions division has been asked by the Department of Health and Human Services to improve the performance of the HealthCare.gov site, which is a key component of the Affordable Care Act. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not been made official.

The most transparent administration in history.

HHS office said Sunday the department would reach outside its government contractors to civilian companies that might be able to solve HealthCare.gov’s problems more quickly.

Government contractors are civilian companies. And Verizon is certainly already a government contractor.

"Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve HealthCare.gov," an HHS blog post said on Sunday.

We thought they already had the best and brightest. Which is why they get paid so lavishly.

HHS did not respond to a request for confirmation about Verizon. The company also declined to comment.

It makes sense for HHS to seek Verizon’s help, said Aneesh Chopra, the Obama administration’s former chief technology officer and now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. "There is an existing ‘best and brightest’ available to call in," Chopra said. "Verizon is one of those already under contract."

Just as we said. Verizon is already a government contractor.

The odds that the problem will be fixed are "50-50," said Clark Kelso, California’s chief information officer under governors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. "They’ve got a short window here to try to fix things," Kelso said. "Simply throwing a lot of new programmers at something like this does not guarantee success."


This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “HHS Asks Verizon To Fix Its Obama-Care Website”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Verizon does not play well with others. Except the NSA. Which goes a long way in my mind to confirming rumors I’ve heard since the Bell Atlantic, British Vodaphone and GTE merger. That Britain’s GCHQ and the black ops community here had their fingerprints all over the creation of the national rollout of a thing we would know as Verizon.

    Or, did you think the CIA was the only with 2,200 front companies they funded and operate?

  2. Petronius says:

    When I was a boy we used to call something like this a blivet (ten pounds of poop in a five pound bag).

    Today they call it a glitch.

    As far as I can tell, the Obamacare technology procurement effort involves 47 contractors and 7 government contracting agencies.

    That alone is a recipe for disaster.

    The seven contracting agencies are HHS, IRS, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), CDC, Health Resources & Services Admin (HRSA), Office of Ass’t Secy for Health Except National Centers, and Indian Health Services-HHS.

    The largest of the contractors (by award amount) are CGI Federal (a US sub of a Canadian company), Serco, Quality Software Services, Maximus Federal Services, Vangent (General Dynamics), National Govt Services (a unit of Wellpoint), McKinsey & Co., Deloitte, Porter Novelli Public Strategies, Computing Solutions, David-James LLC, Information Systems Consulting Group, Unicom Logistics, Sentel, and IBM.

    CGI’s contract was awarded by CMS to build the exchanges; the contract was originally awarded for about $94 million but has now expanded to $292 million. And that’s just for CGI.

    CGI was awarded an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract. ID/IQ contracts are not really contracts. They are more like a price list or catalogue from which the agency orders services by issuing delivery orders. As a general rule, courts have held that ID/IQ contracts are unenforceable because the terms are illusory where the time of performance and quantities to be ordered/delivered are indefinite.

    The courts or the contracting agency will sometimes get around this legal difficulty (illusory contract) by treating the ID/IQ as a requirements contract (one in which the agency promises to order all of its requirements from one single contractor). In that case, however, the agency’s estimates of its requirements must be reasonable and reasonably made –– and (to put it mildly) that does not appear to have been the case here since CGI’s contract has already tripled in value.

    Since CGI has an ID/IQ contract, there is no upper limit or ceiling on agency spending as long as money is appropriated by Congress. The contract theoretically may go on forever in time and amount so long as funds are available. If House Republicans had been successful in their defunding effort, they might have put a lid on the CGI contract. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, so the sky’s the limit.

    Just remember, “it’s a good deal.”

    No matter what.

    None of these government contractors could be replaced by Verizon unless they were first given a cure notice and, having consistently failed to perform, were then terminated for default by the contracting agency. As far as appears, that has not happened.

    By the way, one of the contractors, McKinsey & Co., got in trouble with the regime for a study that claimed that 30 to 60 percent of large employers would drop their employee health insurance plans due to Obamacare.

  3. Astravogel says:

    Camel: A horse built by a committee. In this case, a hoard
    of contractors and a benificent Administration. “Who can
    know the secret hid, under Cheops pyramid, was that the
    contractor, did Cheops out of several millions.” Maybe

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