|By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press|
The findings are in a report to be released Thursday by the
Investigators found that the administration kept changing the contractors' marching orders for the HealthCare.gov website, creating widespread confusion and leading to tens of millions of dollars in additional costs.
Republicans have hammered at the president over the program known as Obamacare and hope to capitalize on its problems in the November congressional elections.
Republican and Democratic congressional aides briefed on the report told the AP that it faults the federal
The aides said they were briefed by GAO on a late draft of the report. They spoke only on condition of anonymity, saying they couldn't be quoted by name discussing the report ahead of its official release.
The front end of the system locked up the same day it was launched,
Confronted with an embarrassing spectacle, the
Zients' rescue operation got the site working by early December. Another major contractor,
Nonetheless, Health and Human Services Secretary
—Contractors were not given a coherent plan, and instead they were kept jumping around from issue to issue.
—The cost of the project grew by tens of millions of dollars as the contractors tried to accommodate administration requests.
—CMS, the lead agency, failed to follow up on whether contractors were doing the work assigned to them, and to review that work for quality.
—CMS sent conflicting signals, at one point notifying one contractor it was so dissatisfied that it would start withholding payments, and then quickly rescinded that decision.
—The type of federal contract that the administration selected for HealthCare.gov was open-ended, which may have encouraged costly changes.
Two contractors took the lead on the computerized system:
QSSI, based in
The original contractors testified to
The GAO's findings amplified earlier conclusions in a report by Zients himself after the website was restored to working order.
In addition to hundreds of software bugs, insufficient infrastructure and subpar monitoring of problems, the
The House of
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