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U.S. President Barack Obama (C) hugs Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA) (CENTER R) after remarks on raising the minimum wage at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut March 5, 2014.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst    (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT) - RTR3G353 U.S. President Barack Obama (C) hugs Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D-MA) (CENTER R) after remarks on raising the minimum wage at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT) - RTR3G353  

State touted as Obama’s health-care reform model fires its Obamacare website contractor

Photo of Patrick Howley
Patrick Howley
Political Reporter

The state of Massachusetts — touted by President Obama as the model for national health-care reform — is firing the company that designed both its failed state Obamacare enrollment website and also the Obama administration’s federal enrollment site.

Massachusetts is firing Canadian company CGI, which holds a $69 million contract to run the state’s Obamacare site. The state has already paid the company approximately $15.9 million. CGI was previously fired by the federal government in January.

“We have made the decision that we are going to be parting ways with CGI,” said Sarah Iselin, who serves as Governor Deval Patrick’s special assistant on the state’s Obamacare website fix, at a Monday board of directors meeting for the Massachusetts Obamacare exchange.

CGI’s incompetence is costing the state $10 million per month in unforeseen enrollment costs and preventing Massachusetts from having a fully working enrollment website until October 2014, according to an estimate.

But while CGI’s relationship with the Bay State is over, the company is still on good terms with the federal government.

The Daily Caller reported that CGI received six additional contracts from the Obama administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after the disastrous launch of the federal government’s Obamacare enrollment site. The six contracts were awarded between October 1 — when the over $600 million Obamacare website launched — through January 2014.

CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of the Canadian company CGI Group, and was formed in 2009 to bring CGI into the federal contracting business. The company employs Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate, and 2010 White House Christmas guest, Toni Townes-Whitley as a top executive.

CGI, which received the Obamacare website contract in Obama’s first term, was fired from its role as prime contractor on the federal government website in January. But the company still holds numerous government contracts, including a $6 billion contract with the Department of Homeland Security awarded less than a month before the failed Obamacare site went live and a prime contract on the Army’s much-maligned Human Terrain System, a failed program that sends academics into war zones to help soldiers understand local populations.

Massachusetts’ capital city of Boston now has the longest wait times to see a doctor of any of the 15 major U.S. cities. Bostonians wait an average of 45.5 days for an appointment with a family physician, dermatologist, orthopedic surgeon, or cardiologist.

“And it’s because you guys had a proven model that we built the Affordable Care Act on… Your law was the model for the nation’s law,” Obama said in an October 30 speech at Boston’s Fanueil Hall.

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