Chriss W. Street
October 31, 2013
In an October 30 Congressional hearing, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius promised a “tech surge” will rescue Obamacare’s HealthCare.gov software by the end of November.
But a review of campaign and fundraising activities by a key executive associated with the general contractor for the surge, Quality Software Services Inc. (QSSI), raises substantial concerns regarding the appropriateness of awarding a no-bid “emergency” contract to a firm associated with over $1 million in donations to President Obama. QSSI is no stranger to controversy regarding Obamacare; the software giant caused howls of crony capitalism after they were acquired in 2012 by mammoth insurance company UnitedHealth Group Inc.
Jeffery Zients, former acting director of the Office of Management and Budget was appointed on October 25 to oversee a team of tech experts to repair HealthCare.gov. Mr. Zients said QSSI, a unit of United HealthGroup Inc.’s Ovum, was retained on an emergency basis to work with federal agency Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services, to get the website running smoothly for most consumers by the end of November. The QSSI contract was announced one day after HealthCare.gov contractors CGI Federal and Optum, which owns QSSI, said they were not given sufficient time to test software for log-ins, insurance eligibility, and insurance plan comparisons for its Oct. 1 launch.