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Caught Flat-Footed': Obamacare Website Officials Rushed to Hire Familiar Contractor, Didn't Seek Bids, Reuters Reveals

"...an administration scrambling to meet the technological challenges of the marketplace - and usually failing to do so."

Image source: Getty Images

Obamacare website officials rushed to hire a contractor they knew and failed to seek competing bids, according to government procurement documents reviewed by Reuters.

Image source: Getty Images

The challenges of building the financial-management and accounting elements of the Obamacare site in particular became a problem for the officials who were "caught flat-footed" over the scope of the job, the Reuters report stated.

More from Reuters:

The documents dated in August - less than two months before the opening of online marketplaces established by President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare law - showed the agency in charge had only "recently learned" that building the financial management functions was "beyond (its) currently available resources."

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) documents shed more light on the problems facing the agency as it worked on the marketplaces established by the law commonly called Obamacare and on its revelation this week that at least 30 percent of the marketplace is still being built.

Reuters noted emails and outside reports released by congressional oversight investigators that "paint an administration scrambling to meet the technological challenges of the marketplace - and usually failing to do so."

CMS spokeswoman Joanne Peters said Friday and Saturday that agency officials weren't available to comment on the contract or an ETA for the completion date of the website's financial management element, Reuters noted.

CMS said in a "justification and approval" document that the "prospect of a delay...even for a few days, would result in severe consequences, financial and other" played into the rush to finish the job and lack of competition for the contract, Reuters reported.

More from Reuters:

The contract, valued at nearly $12 million, was awarded on Aug. 9 to Novitas Solutions, according to the documents. Novitas has numerous contracts with CMS, including to administer doctor and hospital claims in the federal Medicare program for elderly Americans.

The problem-plagued HealthCare.gov is being worked on by contractors racing to fix it by the end of November so that people can enroll in insurance plans for 2014 under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The law aims to provide health care insurance to millions of uninsured people.

Read the rest of the Reuters article here.

(H/T: The Huffington Post)

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