Scores of executives and key personnel working for the main Obamacare contractor were previously associated with American Management Systems (AMS), a firm that had a long history of bungling technology projects at the federal and state levels, The Washington Post reported
Four companies — part of a federal pool of pre-screened, pre-approved contractors — applied to build the federal healthcare exchange: IBM, Computer Sciences Corp., Quality Software Services, and CGI Federal.
Under intense time pressure (request for proposals went out June 24, 2011) the contract — which is now worth $293 million — was awarded to CGI Federal by a civil servant in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Office of Acquisition and Grants Management.
The decision was based on CGI's "technically superior" proposal even though its bid was higher than that of at least of one competitor, the Post reported.
CGI had purchased AMS to gain a foothold in the U.S. government IT contracting business. Before HealthCare.gov, CGI Federal already held 17 other health-related jobs worth over a $100 million.
CGI Federal now holds contracts with about 25 federal agencies.
In selecting vendors, federal officials should have considered the record of predecessor companies. Past performance, however, is not usually key in letting federal contracts.
AMS previously failed on a wide range of IT systems: the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board payroll, a Philadelphia school system payroll and a Mississippi tax job.
All told, AMS projects in at least 12 states turned out to be unsatisfactory, according to the Post.
The federal vending process, rather than political favoritism, led to CGI's gaining the Healthcare.Gov contract. "The selection process was walled off from politics," the Post reported.
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