Who built this thing?
Mostly federal contractors -- 55 of them were involved in the project, according to the Government Accountability Office. Two of the biggest contractors are CGI Federal -- more on them here -- and QSSI, which both do a lot of big government contract work. CGI was “in charge of knitting all the pieces together, making Quality Software Services's data hub work seamlessly with Development Seed's sleek user interface and Oracle's identity management software,” Lydia DePillis explained earlier on Wonkblog.
Or, to put it in the contractor’s own words, CGI Senior Vice President Cheryl Campbell said in September that her company was responsible for “designing an IT solution that is adaptable and modular to accommodate the implementation of additional functional requirements and services.”
QSSI, which is owned by the health insurer UnitedHealthCare, built the “federal data hub,” which is essentially responsible for ferrying data from different agencies (like the Internal Revenue Service and Homeland Security) to and from the insurance marketplace.
“Simply put, the Data Services Hub is a pipeline that transfers data – routing queries and responses between a given marketplace and various trusted data sources,” QSSI’s Andrew Slavitt wrote in prepared testimony for Thursday morning’s hearing.
Wonkblog has a separate article that describes the number of federal contracts CGI gets and how they get them. Their efforts are a consequence of past efforts to downsize the federal government by outsourcing work that was once done in-house to private contractors. One of the questions raised by the failures of the healthcare.gov is whether outsourcing and privatization might be to responsible. Would these project be better performed in-house?