The public employees responsible for overseeing $600 million in contracts to build healthcare.gov were inadequately trained, kept sloppy records, and failed to identify delays and problems that contributed to millions in cost overruns.
That’s according to a new government audit, published Tuesday. It reveals widespread failures by the federal agency charged with managing the private contractors who built healthcare.gov. The audit is the first to document, in detail, how shoddy oversight by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which manages federal health programs including Obamacare, contributed to the website’s early struggles.
To develop healthcare.gov, CMS hired and managed private companies to create vast, interlocking software systems that would allow consumers to shop for insurance policies. According to the report, issued by the agency’s inspector general, lapses in oversight of those companies started early on-well before the website’s limping debut, on Oct. 1, 2013. The site faltered for months, frustrating consumers until a scramble to repair it ultimately allowed millions to enroll in health plans.
The agency says it has already addressed some of the auditors’ recommendations and is working on others. A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees CMS, declined to say whether any employees had been terminated or disciplined over the lapses the inspector general identified.