Vermont and Massachusetts are getting ready to sue CGI Federal, the contractor that bungled their healthcare sites as well as healthcare.gov:
Massachusetts officials are reviewing legal options against CGI Group, a Montreal-based information technology company, and will make recommendations on how to seek financial redress at a Jan. 9 meeting.
So far, the state has paid $11 million of its $69 million contract with CGI. It will not pay a penny more until a functioning website has been delivered, said Jason Lefferts, spokesman for the Commonwealth Health Connector, the state’s insurance marketplace.
“CGI has consistently underperformed, which is frustrating and a serious concern,” Lefferts said. “We are holding the vendor accountable for its underperformance and will continue to apply nonstop pressure to work to fix defects and improve performance.”
Massachusetts has reverted to using an alternative software system and paper notifications for residents seeking new insurance, a significant black eye for a system that was held up as a national model for providing coverage after it debuted in 2007.
In Vermont, state officials recently alerted CGI that the state is withholding payment of $5.1 million as compensation for the company’s failure to meet key deadlines.
The state is also disputing more than $1 million in charges billed by CGI because of incomplete work that left its insurance website so far behind schedule that Vermonters could not buy coverage online, as promised under Obama’s health care law, until early December, two months after it opened.
As far as I’m concerned, the Obama Administration did the right thing by not pointing fingers while healthcare.gov was floundering–calling out CGI would have risked non-cooperation from them during a critical time, and finger pointing looks weak. But at the point when healthcare.gov is more-or-less working, Obama should have Holder pick out the meanest junkyard dog attorneys at Justice and have them go after CGI hammer and tongs. If a couple of CGI C-level execs need to go to jail pour encourager les autres, so be it. We need to get our money back from these grifters, and we also need to educate the public, who are paying attention now like they’ve never done before, on the stupidity, corruption and waste in the contracting system.