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Report: Prez Obama kicks Healthcare.gov contractor to curb for web disaster

US administration tries to avoid NPfIT 2.0 by nixing CGI Federal, we're told

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The Obama administration has reportedly patted CGI Federal on the back, forced it to pick up its various toys, and led it away from the fail-filled Healthcare.gov site it created and subsequently tried to repair.

It's not usually this easy to get out of procurement contracts, but per the Washington Post, which made the claims earlier today, CGI's contract was coming up for renewal in February, allowing the administration to get out.

By getting rid of the contractor, as reported, US officials hope to stop the rot on an IT project that has all the traits – huge budgets, tons of consultants, a fragmented procurement strategy – of the United Kingdom's own disastrous healthcare boondoggle, the National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

When Healthcare.gov launched on October 1, 2013, the media waited to see if the grand $500m edifice would take the weight of the hundreds of thousands of people expected to use it to sign-up for health insurance. It didn't, and collapsed, managing just six signups on its first day.

Since then the US government has tried many things to get it working, including parachuting in top techies from Google, Oracle, and Red Hat, and shifting Healthcare.gov's servers from Verizon Terremark to Hewlett-Packard, among others.

The Obama administration is mulling giving global outsourcer Accenture a run as CGI Federal's replacement. Accenture, the Washington Post says, "has extensive experience with computer systems on the state level, and it built California’s new health insurance exchange."

California's new health exchange, Covered California, has suffered its own computer glitches, and sent flawed eligibility notices to more than 100,000 households in December "due to a computer error", according to the LA Times.

At the time of writing CGI Federal had not returned a request for further information. ®

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