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Shortened Bidding Process Limited Obamacare Contractor Options

The Oct. 1 deadline to launch HealthCare.gov made the Obama administration use an accelerated bidding system that limited the choice of contractors to only four companies, Bloomberg reports.

The expedited process cut up to nine months from the normal process, but limited those that could bid to a preapproved group of 16 companies. Only four of the 16 ended up bidding for the work, including CGI, the company that ultimately won the job.

The contractor was then given about two years to build the federal exchange website.

CGI had previously worked with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Medicare.gov, as well as other projects.

Following the problematic rollout of the enrollment website, both Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner testified that CGI did not meet expectations outlined in its contract. However, CGI testified that end-to-end testing and overall functionality of the site was the responsibility of CMS.

CGI will continue working on repairs to HealthCare.gov, but it will now be supervised by QSSI, the company responsible for creating the site's data services hub. QSSI was recently named lead contractor as part of the administration's "tech surge" to fix the website.

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