A great deal of media focus has been devoted to the epic failure of Healthcare.gov, the Obamacare website.
Less has been said about the company who was engaged by HHS with responsibility for the design of the website and the roll out.
The company was CGI, a Canadian company. CGI has a long and checked past of failures and overruns on projects from Canada to Hawaii. Brian Lilley of Canada’s Sun News reported on some of the history in the above video.
According to Breitbart:
CGI, the Canadian company whose U.S. subsidiary built the failed Obamacare website, was once contracted to build a federal gun registry for the Canadian government, Breitbart News has learned.
CGI’s contract was canceled in 2007 after a report by the Auditor General found that the Canadian Firearms Information System (CFIS) being built by CGI was “significantly over budget” and that it had been plagued by delays.
The Conservative government that took power in 2006 canceled CGI’s gun registry contract, and eventually repealed the Canadian gun registry entirely.
In another parallel to the Obamacare controversy in the United States, the gun registry had been passed in 1993 over vehement Conservative objections, and was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2000, before finally being repealed in most of the country in 2012.
The failed gun registry was only one of CGI’s many Canadian failures, which included canceled contracts to build health care databases in the provinces of Ontario and New Brunswick. Despite CGI’s checkered record, the Obama administration awarded its U.S. subsidiary, CGI Federal, the $93.7 million contract to build healthcare.gov, part of $678 million in health care services contracts awarded to the company.
A cursory review would have revealed the issues with CGI. But such a review was apparently never done or did not stop the selection.
How did HHS come to chose CGI?
The contract did not go out for competitive bidding as might normally be done. Instead, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid HHS employed a loophole that allowed them to select CGI.
According to the Washington Examiner:
CMS officials are tight-lipped about why CGI was chosen or how it happened. They also refuse to say if other firms competed with CGI, or if there was ever a public solicitation for building Healthcare.gov, the backbone of Obamacare’s problem-plagued web portal.
Instead, it appears they used what amounts to a federal procurement system loophole to award the work to the Canadian firm. [...]
In awarding the Healthcare.gov contract, CMS relied on a little-known federal contracting system called ID/IQ, which is government jargon for “Indefinite Delivery and Indefinite Quantity.”
CGI was a much smaller vendor when it was approved by HHS in 2007. With the approval, CGI became eligible for multiple awards without public notice and in circumvention of the normal competitive bidding procurement process.
Under questioning yesterday during testimony, there was some assertion that there had been more than one company considered, although clearly even if that were true, this was not subjected to competitive bidding.
There’s another thing about CGI.
CGI has a subsidiary called Silver Oak Solutions (SOS) which operates the PRISM platform. If that rings a bell, it’s because the NSA uses the PRISM platform to help spy on people.
So that means CGI, with a checkered history, which operates the PRISM data collection platform for the NSA, was also selected to work on the Obamcare website, with all kinds of private information, without having to go out to competitive bidding.
The NSA was recently revealed to have been grabbing email and other social media lists from international servers. This of course involved information grabbed from millions of Americans. The rationale for this was that since the information was transmitted from foreign servers and not strictly “American” in nature, that therefore they could grab it.
So what will become of our private information given to CGI on servers run out of Canada?
Of course, the government already seems to be setting up an argument that information on the site should not be held private, although they wouldn’t want you to know it. As testimony before Congress revealed yesterday, hidden in source code on the site, there is language that says applicants have “no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transmitting or stored on this information system.” When queried on this, the senior vice president said that this was part of the rule and regulations set down by the government.