Covered CA projects large hike in 2017 health premiums

As reported by the Sacramento Bee:

Covered California announced projected average rate increases of 13.2 percent for health insurance bought next year through the state-run system, as consumers were urged to “shop around” to avoid large premium hikes.

Covered California executive director Peter Lee said there are multiple reasons for the increase: hikes in specialty drug costs, an expected loss of federal aid to insurance companies and “sicker people” enrolling in two of the state’s biggest providers during the off-season special enrollment period.

Lee said the premium hikes are not due to health insurer profits. “We kicked the tires hard. … This isn’t about health plans making big buckets of money. It’s about rising costs of health care.”

Rate hikes for Covered California policies in the last two years came to about 4 percent, putting the three-year average at 7 percent. Lee noted that 90 percent of Californians will still be eligible for federal subsidies to help cover their Covered California premium costs.

Lee noted that the average increase varies widely by …

Covered California Is No Model for Obamacare Reform

covered caWith the recent announcement of UnitedHealth Care’s abandoning Covered California and most other Obamacare exchanges around the country, its beneficiaries will have fewer plans to choose from in 2017. We can expect this shrinking number of health plans to take advantage of market power to increase premiums. Obamacare’s supporters believe the solution is to give state-based exchanges the power to act as “active purchasers” limiting consumers’ choices like Covered California does today.

Under Obamacare, consolidation is widespread. Hospital mergers increased 44 percent from 2010 to 2014. As for physicians, Marcus Welby, MD is an artifact of history. In 2014, 39 percent of physicians worked in practices with at least eleven physicians, versus fewer than one quarter three decades ago. The five largest national health insurers are merging into three, assuming the federal Department of Justice approves the consolidations.

Admitting Obamacare is leading to shrinking choices, its supporters now argue less competition among health plans is just fine, as long as the exchanges are granted even more power over the plans insurers offer.

California is one of only four states where the Obamacare exchange, called Covered California, has the statutory authority to act as an “active purchaser.” Covered California defines just one benefit design in each “metal” tier. It dictates, for example, a primary-care visit has a $45 co-pay for those with Silver plans; or that a family deductible is $4,500. According to Peter Lee, Executive Director of Covered California, consumers do not really value being able to choose plans with different deductibles or copays. “What’s the difference between them? Tweaks on co-insurance and insurance babble that most consumers don’t understand.”

In order to cut out this “babble”, Covered California only accepted 12 of 32 insurers which initially showed interest in participating in 2014. Some rating regions have more insurers competing than others. Obamacare’s supporters were relieved when Professor Richard Scheffler of the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues published research concluding rating regions with fewer insurers (such as Santa Clara County) had lower premium hikes in 2015 than those (such as San Francisco) with more. The authors credited Covered California’s active purchasing power for this counter-intuitive result.

Examining Silver plans, the researchers concluded the average statewide premium for a 40-year old increased 3.3 percent in 2015; and a 10 percent decrease in insurer competition in a rating region was associated with a reduction in the premium hike to 3.0 percent. In New York, where the exchange is not an active purchaser, the relationship went in the direction one would expect in a normal market.

The average statewide premium increased 2.1 percent; and a 10 percent decrease in competition in a rating region was associated with an increase in the expected growth rate to 3.0 percent.

Explaining California’s counter-intuitive result, Professor Scheffler and colleagues suggest health plans in rating regions where there are fewer competitors can negotiate excessively profitable contracts with hospitals and doctors; and this gives them more room to yield when negotiating rate hikes with Covered California. Another way to put it might be that uncompetitive insurance markets allow insurers to gouge providers, then Covered California gouges back from insurers.

A policy to give that power to other states’ exchanges ignores the bigger picture. Comparing two states’ Obamacare exchanges is like comparing the taste of two rotten lemons. Health plans in exchanges in both California and New York are “highly concentrated” as defined by the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission. In other words, they would be closely investigated for antitrust violations if they operated in a normal market.

Nevertheless, the average premium hike in California in 2015 was 3.3 percent and in New York it was only 2.1 percent.  By 2015, we already had one full year of Obamacare behind us. Everything turned upside down a year earlier. According to the Manhattan Institute, a 40-year old man’s premium went up by 33 percent in California in 2014, versus declining 45 percent in New York.

And there is the problem of network adequacy. Professor Simon F. Haeder of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and colleagues, found hospital networks were smaller in insurers’ Covered California plans than in their commercial plans in two-thirds of cases. Networks in their Covered California plans were 17 percent smaller (measured by hospital beds) than in commercial plans. Insurers are not limiting premium hikes by yielding excess profits to Covered California, but by reducing access to hospitals and doctors.

Rather than giving other state exchanges Covered California’s power to limit consumers’ choice of health plans with narrow networks, other states should be demanding more freedom from Obamacare’s federal regulations and passing that freedom on to consumers.

enior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute and a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.

This piece was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Bill Would Allow Illegal Immigrants Access to Obamacare in CA

covered caState Democrats forged ahead with legislation designed to fill out Covered California’s enrollment ranks with unlawful and undocumented immigrants.

Following the state Senate, the Assembly has “passed a measure that would remove a critical barrier to Covered California and allow all Californians to access the state health insurance marketplace, regardless of immigration status,” as State of Reform noted. The legislation, introduced as Senate Bill 10 by state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, “would authorize the state to apply for a federal waiver that would allow undocumented immigrants to buy unsubsidized health coverage through Covered California.”

“Currently, undocumented immigrants are barred from using the state marketplace under the Affordable Care Act even when using their own money and instead must go directly to a broker or health plan to purchase health insurance. During its April board meeting, a Covered California staff report gave the green light to pursue this waiver from the federal government, and is now awaiting direction from the Legislature and governor.”

Republican rollover

Despite massive Republican resistance to the implementation of Obamacare, with a “repeal and replace” approach adopted by elected officials at the state and federal level, California’s GOP quietly folded in the face of the expansion plan. SB10 sailed through both houses of the Legislature with bipartisan support, as the San Jose Mercury News recalled.

Prior to the vote, key Republicans tried to keep a low profile. Leaders “in both legislative chambers declined to comment on whether the bill has enough support to pass,” according to CALmatters. “But a Republican strategist said the California GOP might be more likely to support the measure than its national counterpart, to avoid ceding the state’s Latino vote to the Democrats.”

The ins and outs of the complex Affordable Care Act have lent some circumstantial evidence to the notion that, despite President Obama’s claims to the contrary, at least some enrollment by the undocumented was envisioned or prepared for. An ACA provision “called the ‘innovation waiver’ allows states like California to change portions of the law as long as the state makes coverage available to more people and as long as the federal government doesn’t get stuck footing the bill,” reported Fox News. And though the impact of that population on Covered California has not been fully estimated, it would be significant: Lara suggested nearly 400,000 unlawful immigrants “would be eligible to receive health insurance,” according to the channel.

Federal hurdles

But the political landscape has become uncertain enough at the federal level to create an extra layer of difficulty — and urgency — for Lara and his allies. “The proposal needs federal approval, an involved bureaucratic process that could be thwarted under a new presidency. So California advocates are acting swiftly to get their application to President Obama before he leaves office, and to do so must win support from at least a few California Republican lawmakers,” Capital Public Radio noted. “Lara put an urgency clause on the bill, which requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass the Legislature. At least one Republican state senator has indicated his support” — Andy Vidak, R-Hanford — “a cherry grower in the Central Valley’s Kings County, which has a 53 percent Latino population.”

Even with adequate Republican support for urgency, however, SB10 could be stymied inside the Beltway. Public comment review requirements left some analysts skeptical that the new rules could be approved before a change in administrations, CALmatters reported. “And even if the proposal works its way through that maze and is reviewed by the Obama administration, he said, it may not be approved because of current federal guidelines. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has strict rules for modifying the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. They might have been put in place to avoid creating a precedent that opens the door to future changes the current administration would deem” problematic.

This piece was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

Flexible Savings Accounts Threatened by Obamacare Cadillac Tax

Healthcare costsFlexible Spending Accounts could soon be a thing of the past due to the Affordable Care Act’s high-cost plan tax (HCPT), also known as the Cadillac tax.

Employers across the country are reassessing their current benefit plans due to a 40 percent nondeductible excise tax, set to take effect in 2018, on insurance premiums set above $10,200 for single-employee plans and $27,000 for family coverage.

Millions of people who use FSAs, which allow users to save money tax-free for medical expenses, will likely face paying more out-of-pocket for their health care expenses not covered by insurance.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, one in four employers will be affected by the looming tax increase since insurance premiums are expected to rise quicker than inflation.

“They’ll [FSAs] be one of the first things to go,” said Rich Stover, a health care actuary and principal at Buck Consultants, told Politico. “It’s a death knell for them. If the Cadillac tax doesn’t change, FSAs will go away very quickly.”

The tax was intended to generate $87 billion over the course of 10 years to expand government healthcare.

“In addition to raising revenue to fund the cost of coverage expansion under the ACA, the HCPT was intended to discourage employers from offering overly-generous benefit plans and help to contain health care spending,” Kaiser said in the report.

The Washington Examiner reports labor unions, once strong supporters of Obamacare, have teamed up with insurance companies and other employers, creating the “Alliance to Fight the 40,” in an attempt to push Congress to repeal the tax.

On Monday, the group sent members of the House a letter urging lawmakers to change the legislation to avoid employers potentially dropping or lowering coverage.

“The stated goal of health reform was to build upon employer-based coverage and lower costs. This tax will do neither,” they said. “Instead, it will erode an important source of quality coverage and compel a shift of costs to workers – something neither employers, nor employees want to see happen.”

Follow Juliegrace Brufke on Twitter

Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation

Medi-Cal Struggles Leave Politicians Worried, Patients Hurting

A victim of its own success, California’s popular Medi-Cal program has rapidly swelled to a large enough size to malfunction. It’s known as Medicaid in the rest of the country and provides medical care to poor people.

Mounting woes — from applicant backlogs to outdated regulations — have raised serious concerns among analysts and policymakers.

In part, the challenges facing the Medi-Cal system came about because of administrative changes triggered by the federal Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Here it’s called Covered California. As CalWatchdog.com reported, a combination of cuts in federal and state budgetary subsidies boosted provider costs.

“A provision of Obamacare hiked the rates for primary care doctors to the substantially higher Medicare rates for two years, but those increases ended on Dec. 31,” reported the San Jose Mercury News. “A second blow came last month when the state cut the Medi-Cal reimbursement rate by another 10 percent, a reduction approved by California lawmakers in 2011 but delayed in a court battle that doctors ultimately lost.”

But the ACA has made an even greater impact on California’s health care challenges by ballooning the population accessing Medi-Cal benefits. As the Mercury News reported, Obamacare opened the floodgates in Jan. 2014, resulting in 2.7 million more recipients to date.

California’s expanded recipient group now makes up 17 percent of total national Obamacare enrollment, even though California’s overall population is just 12 percent of the U.S. total.

State health officials, according to the Mercury News, have concluded that by the middle of 2016, “more than 12.2 million people — nearly a third of all Californians — will be on Medi-Cal.” Meanwhile, the program already consumes about two-thirds of California state-government spending on health and human services overall.

Budgetary fears

For both Gov. Jerry Brown and Sacramento legislators, these trend lines have raised sharp worries, as McKnight’s news servicereported:

“State lawmakers this week said the latest enrollment news is alarming, and that even if a new pending rate request hike goes through, there is concern the state will run out of funding to care for its Medicaid recipients. State Medicaid costs are up 4.3 percent this year while federal share of costs for new enrollees will begin dropping in 2016, according to Gov. Jerry Brown.”

Brown has made an effort to head some costs off at the pass in his budget plan. According to State of Reform, a health-care think tank, “Brown has earmarked $2 billion in total funds ($943.2 million General Fund dollars) to cover mandatory Medi-Cal expansion.”

But pressure to change the budgetary calculus in California’s favor has intensified.

Reducing access

The big picture for Medi-Cal has officeholders and policymakers so nervous because of the ripple effects of increased costs and recipient rolls. State of Reform observed:

“In addition to Medi-Cal primary cuts making it potentially impossible for new patients to find physicians, President Barack Obama’s executive action will make approximately 1 million undocumented immigrants in California eligible for health insurance tax subsidies.”

That has critics warning access to doctors could decrease sharply. In a sobering report issued by the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the impact of the president’s actions was incalculable:

“The benefits received by undocumented immigrants through these programs are almost entirely funded by the state and would therefore result in additional General Fund costs of an unknown amount. The General Fund costs to provide state–funded benefits to this population are unknown at this time.”

With the federal government putting the squeeze on California’s budget, state doctors have become increasingly scarce.

“There are mounting concerns there will not be enough plan doctors to accommodate the enrollment surge,” according to McKnight’s. “One recent study found that only 57 percent of the state’s primary care doctors accept new Medi-Cal patients.”

As a result, increasing numbers of recipients have been winding up in the ER. As the Fresno Bee observed, that transfer of burdens has undermined the claim advanced by Obamacare proponents “that patients with insurance would have primary care doctors to take care of them and less reason to use expensive and overcrowded hospital emergency rooms.”

Although experts have not determined the likely extent of doctors’ unwillingness to treat Medi-Cal patients, California lawmakers have begun to brace for the worst: a substantial budgetary increase that will not be covered by the federal government.

Instead, the higher health tab may have to be absorbed by increased taxes, cuts in other budget areas, or both.

Originally published at CalWatchdog.com

Report: Inaccuracies in Covered CA Doctor Lists

What good is medical insurance if you can’t find a doctor?

A recent investigation by the California Department of Managed Health Care found a quarter of the doctors listed in the provider directories for two of California’s top Affordable Care Act insurance plans either refuse to accept patients in the Covered California exchange, the state’s ACA implementation, or the doctors can’t be located.

“The inquiry was in response to numerous complaints the Department received from consumers who were having difficulty finding in-network physicians,” said the DMHC. “When contacted by the Department, a significant number of these physicians listed in the Plan’s network as participating providers indicated they did not accept Covered California enrollees.”

Nearly 13 percent of the physicians listed by Anthem Blue Cross as Covered California providers were not willing to accept patients enrolled in Anthem’s Covered California plans, according to a DMHC phone survey of 3,272 providers. Another 12.5 percent were not at the location listed in the provider directory.

Similar results were found with Blue Shield in another DMHC report: 8.8 percent of providers were unwilling to accept patients enrolled in Blue Shield’s Covered California products, despite being listed on the website as doing so. And 18.2 percent of the physicians were not at the directory’s listed location.

Some Californians have it worse than others. In 13 counties, fewer than half of Anthem Blue Cross’ Covered California providers said they accept Covered California patients, according to DMHC. That was the case for Blue Shield providers in 12 counties. The worst was Modoc County, where only 20 percent accept Blue Shield’s Covered California patients.

Making the situation even worse for those seeking affordable health care, 6 percent of the physicians who do participate in Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Covered California plans are not accepting new patients, according to the DMHC.

Advertising

The department accused the companies of violating California Health & Safety Code Section 1360. It states: “No plan, solicitor, solicitor firm, or representative shall use or permit the use of any advertising or solicitation which is untrue or misleading, or any form of evidence of coverage which is deceptive.”

The companies’ Covered California insurance plans were cited for four deficiencies of the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act, which regulates HMOs in California:

  • “The Plan operated at variance when its internet website and online Provider Directory informed enrollees that numerous physicians were participating in the Plan’s Covered California products, when they were not.
  • “When the Plan failed to correct inaccuracies in its online Provider Directory, the Plan used (or permitted the use of) written or printed statements or items of information that were either untrue or misleading and which were disseminated, at least in part, for the purpose of inducing persons to enroll in the Plan.
  • “The Plan failed to meet its statutory obligation to provide enrollees with accurate contracted provider lists, either upon request, or through provider listings set forth on the Plan’s internet website.
  • “The Plan failed to submit a required Amendment filing to inform the Department of a greater than 10 percent change in the list of providers and to resubmit its updated provider list for re-review and approval.”

The first three deficiencies remain uncorrected, according to the DMHC report, and “have been referred to the Office of Enforcement for additional corrective action and other remedies as needed.”

Responses

The companies filed responses with DMHC, arguing the findings are flawed, overblown and based on inaccurate phone surveys. Their contracted physicians are responsible for inaccuracies in the directory if they don’t notify that they’ve moved to another location. And the companies said that any problems have been corrected.

“The Final Report drew several inaccurate conclusions based on unsupported assumptions and a fundamentally flawed research methodology,” argued Blue Cross in its response. “Most concerning is that even after being advised of the obvious problems with the survey’s findings, DMHC forged ahead with publishing its Final report.

“The unfortunate result is that the final report is likely to confuse and mislead consumers at a time when they are in need of accurate information in making their health care decisions.”

The company argued phone surveys have a “penchant for inaccuracy.” To ensure accuracy, the surveyor must first test a small sample and make adjustments before launching the full campaign. And it should include a subsample interviewed by a different interviewer to double-check the responses.

“Importantly, the interviewer should make every effort to speak with the person most likely to have the information sought, and record the title or role of the person interviewed,” Blue Cross said. “There is no indication in the Final Report that any of these basic protocols were followed.”

The company said it followed up with the physicians contacted by DMHC. Nearly half had “no recollection of any call from DMHC or its surveyors, with many saying such a call would have been referred to the individual with whom Anthem spoke, and that the provider’s office fully understands it is an Anthem provider.”

Blue Cross also charged the DMHC report is misleading because it assumed  physicians who had not updated their address information or did not respond to the survey or were uncertain whether they were in the Anthem plan “were by implication not Anthem providers. … [I]t appears the Final Report was written to confirm DMHC’s erroneous initial bias that Anthem’s Provider Directory had significant inaccuracies.”

Defense

Blue Shield’s response, while not as confrontational, made similar arguments in its defense:

“Blue Shield of California acknowledges and shares the Department of Managed Health Care’s concern about the network confusion that Individual and Family Plan members and our network providers experienced in 2014, due in large part to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

“We have worked hard over the last year to ensure that all of our members have an improved and positive experience in 2015. We are committed to continuing to work with the Department on our shared mission of serving Covered California members across the state.

“At the same time, we believe that the Department’s Final Report is misleading and has the potential to further confuse members by significantly overstating the severity of the issues. The vast majority of the issues raised in the Department’s report have either been corrected by Blue Shield or were never caused by Blue Shield in the first place.”

Blue Shield said it has more than 27,000 primary care providers under contract, with 96 percent “confirming they are accepting new Covered California patients.”

DMHC response

DMHC responded to Blue Cross’ criticisms:

“While the Department understands these concerns, they do not change the fact that the significant inaccuracies contained in the Plan’s online Provider Directory resulted in a highly unacceptable consumer experience, nor do they change the fact that California consumers could not reach or did not have access to providers who were represented as being part of the Plan’s network.”

The department acknowledged that Blue Shield is making corrections, but also defended the accuracy of its report’s findings:

“[T]he disconnect between the information provided to members and the actual status of providers within the Plan’s network has real potential for creating barriers to care. The divergence between the Plan’s online directory and the survey responses by provider offices listed in the directory creates confusion and access difficulties for enrollees.”

The DMHC was backed up by the California Medical Association, which represents more than 40,000 medical professionals. In a Dec. 8 letter to Covered California, CMA Associate Director Brett Johnson said the DMHC’s findings “unfortunately were consistent with our own findings.

“We have long been concerned with the state of provider directories in some of California’s largest health plans, and have conducted numerous internal surveys and analyses to this effect, some of which involved direct testing (e.g., calling practices to verify participation status) similar to that employed by DMHC.

“Despite criticism of DMHC in the plan responses for using telephone contact as the primary means of assessing a physician’s participation status, both directories audited in the report used directory disclaimers that instructed the enrollee to call or otherwise contact the listed provider to verify participation status.

“We believe, furthermore, this emphasis on point-of-service access appropriately places the responsibility for clear communication, comprehensible administrative policies, user-friendly information updating processes, and unambiguous contracting, among other things, in the hands of those best equipped to do something about it, the health plans, as opposed to relying primarily on DMHC to have the capacity required to effectively police the vast documentation this entails.”

However, the CMA did agree with the companies “that miscommunications and misunderstandings were the likely cause of a significant percentage of DMHC’s reported inaccuracies and failures to verify participation, and we further agree that, in such instances, physicians have a role in confirming participation status and ensuring that demographic data remains current.”

Recommendations

Johnson’s letter submitted three recommendations for Covered California’s consideration:

  • “Foster improved collaboration among providers and health plans to improve communication, the contracting process, and the means by which demographic information is verified and updated.
  • “Using Covered California’s authority as an active purchaser, require that providers’ participation in reduced networks be only obtained via a separate, affirmative assent.
  • “To achieve greater network transparency and improved directory reliability, continue encouraging and pursuing consumer-friendly technological improvements, such as creating an interface between health plan network management systems and a Covered California cross-plan directory.”

At the Dec. 15 Covered California board meeting, Executive Director Peter Lee said, “I applaud and appreciate CMA’s approach and recommendations. Getting directories right is a problem and challenge for both doctors and health plans. We will address that issue.”

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com

One Year Later, Glitches Still Plague Covered CA

“Here we go again with the same nightmare as a year ago. [I’m] truly fed up with Covered California’s technical incompetency.” So complained Igal Koiman, a health insurance broker, in remarks published this week in the Sacramento Business Journal.

His frustrations echo those of many other brokers throughout the state who fear the Covered California website will be no less glitch-ridden on Nov. 15, when open enrollment begins this year, than it was 19 months ago, when the state’s online Obamacare health exchange stumbled out of the starting gate.

Koiman related that, for the past two weeks, he has been unable to update plans for his established clients. When he contacted Covered California for help, he received an email reply informing him, “We do not currently have an ETA as to when this enrollment error will be corrected.”

These are the kind of system failures that have persistently plagued CoveredCA.com since its rollout. Indeed, the website has crashed numerous times, not just for hours, but for several days.

The Covered California website was developed by the consulting firm Accenture, which in 2012 received a $359 million state contract to not only build the site, but to operate it during its first three-and-a-half years. Meanwhile, Accenture brought on CGI Federal as a subcontractor for CoveredCA.com.

Both firms have recent troubling track records.

Accenture in 2011 paid $63.6 million to settle a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit charging the firm received kickbacks for its recommendations of specific hardware and software to the federal government, fraudulently inflated prices and rigged bids on federal IT contracts.

Tony West, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said of the lawsuit:

“Kickbacks and bid rigging undermine the integrity of the federal procurement process. At a time when we’re looking for ways to reduce our public spending, it is especially important to ensure that government contractors play by the rules and don’t waste precious taxpayer dollars.”

And Christopher R. Thyer, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, said:

“We strive each and every day to bring justice to the citizens of the Eastern District of Arkansas. … Fraudulent business practices that steal hard earned and much needed tax dollars from appropriate use will not be tolerated. The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to pursuing these cases to the full extent of the law.”

Subsidiary

CGI Federal is a subsidiary of the Montreal-based CGI Group, which in 2012 was fired by the provincial government in Ontario after the IT firm failed to fulfill its contract to build an online medical registry for the province’s diabetes patients.

According to the Washington Examiner:

“In Canada, eHealth, the Ontario provincial agency, scrapped its high-profile online medical registry for diabetes sufferers and treatment providers, and canceled CGI Group’s $46.2 million contract, on Sept. 5, 2012. The company was 14 months behind schedule when it was given notice of termination by the Ontario government agency.

“In the meantime, a group of other Ontario IT companies successfully replicated the registry, rendering CGI’s project obsolete.

“Because the contract terms stipulated payment only upon delivery of a satisfactory final product, the province has refused to pay CGI.

“CGI has not publicly discussed the eHealth failure, but has taken legal action, including filing a defamation suit against eHealth and the Toronto Star newspaper.

“CGI has received bipartisan condemnation from Ontario government officials for its failure on the registry.

“’They did not meet the requirements of their contract which was faced with many layers of delays, which caused great angst among the health care providers who are trying to do their best,’ Frances Gélinas, a member of Ontario’s provincial parliament, told the Washington Examiner.

“’They basically said, “This is not working.” CGI is not delivering what we need,’ Gélinas said. Gélinas also serves as a health policy spokeswoman for the NDP, an opposition Canadian political party.”

Terminated

In January, CGI’s U.S. contract to build and maintain HealthCare.gov, the federal Obamacare website, was terminated in the wake of the site’s disastrous rollout. The firm the Obama administration chose to pick up where CGI Federal left off was none other than Accenture.

The partnership of Accenture and CGI Federal on the Covered California website does not inspire confidence that the online portal will be good to go a mere two weeks from now.

The more likely scenario is that the persistent glitches that afflicted CoveredCA.com during its first year of operation, that caused repeated shutdowns of the state-run Obamacare exchange, will continue apace in year two.

This piece was originally published on CalWatchdog.com

 

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