The Obama Administration, in a tizzy because they had only two months before the rollout date for Obamacare, hired a firm to build the financial management functions for the government’s online marketplace on a no-bid basis. On August 9, the $12 million contract was awarded on to Novitas Solutions, which was tightly connected to CMS, as they administered doctor and hospital claims in the federal Medicare program. Henry Chao, the Deputy CIO at HHS, admitted on November 19 that the system for making payments to insurance companies from people who enroll in Obamacare wasn’t even built yet.
After all the hoopla from Administration officials that everything was hunky-dory, how could such a step be left until two months before the rollout when there had been three and a half years to prepare?
As Jeryl Bier reported in the Weekly Standard in September, “The contract was awarded to the firm without competition as “an interim, transitory solution to meet the Agency’s immediate and urgent need” because development and testing of the financial management services system “is already minimally two months overdue.”