Recently Republicans in Congress have been claiming that the problem plagued Healthcare.gov website cost the government as much as $634 million to build. To say that the figure is exaggerated is to be kind, it might be more accurate to call it an outright and intentional lie.
How far off is the figure? Try $534 million. The actual cost is closer to $70 million, still a large number but nowhere near what they are trying to claim.
They arrive at this amount by looking at what CGI Federal, the main contractor building the system was paid for the contract covering the system, a contract which was signed in 2007 and runs through 2017 and includes many different projects.
These contracts are common in government spending and are intended to cover many projects over many years, they are known as IDIQs (indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity). This particular contract was initiated well in advance of the ACA and in fact before Barack Obama became President. Over the life of one of these contracts the government generates purchase and task orders for specific services as needed, these can be found in the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) and a complete list of task orders for CGI Federal can be found here.
What a surprise! Who would have thought that the TEApublicans might be disingenuous and distort the facts to attack the President’s signature piece of legislation?
According to the National Memo, the number originally was seen in a piece by Andrew Couts at Digital Trends during the week after the October first rollout of the site. It would appear that Couts was aware that he was making inaccurate claims as he links back in his article to an ExecutiveBiz piece at the time CGI won the contract which puts the cost at $55.7-93.7 million.
In fairness, let’s give the Congressional TEApublicans credit, for once they did not run with the propaganda of Faux News, where it was reported that the cost was going to top one billion.