Contractors and HealthCare.gov: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions [January 24, 2014]   [open pdf - 350KB]

"The widely reported problems with the rollout of the HealthCare.gov website--the federal online health insurance portal called for by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. [Public Law] 111-148, as amended)--have prompted interest in the role that contractors played in developing this site. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) relied upon the services of over 50 vendors to build the site, which was reportedly largely unusable when it first became available to the public on October 1, 2013, and has been the subject of ongoing work since then. Given HealthCare.gov's problematic debut, questions have arisen about how CMS selected vendors to work on HealthCare.gov, and the terms of the vendors' contractual relationships with the government. […] The questions in this report are those that happen to have been frequently asked of the Congressional Research Service by congressional staffers. The inclusion of a particular question, or the exclusion of another question, should not be taken to indicate that particular factors did--or did not--contribute to HealthCare.gov's problematic debut. In addition, answers to these questions must often be provided in general terms, in part, because specific language in the parties' contracts may be subject to multiple interpretations and has not been construed by any court. […] The authors of this report rely upon third-party investigations of the facts and circumstances surrounding HealthCare.gov, and additional information may emerge regarding topics discussed herein. There is also a video, CRS [Congressional Research Service] WVB00013, 'Contractors and HealthCare.gov: Background in Brief', by L. Elaine Halchin and Kate M. Manuel, that addresses certain of these questions."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R43368
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