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10/10/13 at 04:19 PM 0 Comments

Did Obamacare Website Cost $440 Million More Than Expected?

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Photo: Flickr/LaDawna Howard
Obamacare supporters demonstrate in 2012.

The recent sign up problems on the official Obamacare website have reporters digging into the technical problems and who is responsible for them.

Digital Trends posted an article critical of Healthcare.gov, the Obamacare website, and its criticisms are spreading rapidly on the Internet due to Matt Drudge linking to the article. The headline is sure to grab attention: "We paid $634 million for the Obamacare sites and all we got was this lousy 404."

Andrew Counts, a supporter of Obamacare reports, "The exact cost to build Healthcare.gov, according to U.S. government records, appears to have been $634,320,919, which we paid to a company you probably never heard of: CGI Federal."

Canadian company CGI was awarded the government contract to build the Obamacare insurance exchange near the end of 2011. In a press release CGI announced, "The contract has an estimated total contract value of US$93.7 million over a two-year base with three, one-year option periods."

So did CGI go $440 million overbudget? Simple answer is no.

Government website USA Spending reports that CGI received $634,320,919 from the federal government. However, $63.7 million of those government funds were received in 2009. Obamacare wasn't signed into law until March 23, 2010.

CGI wasn't the only company receiving government funding to build the insurance exchange. According to The Washington Post, Quality Software Services received $55 million "to build the data hub, software that serves as an intermediary between all those federal agencies and the Obamacare exchanges."

Digital Trends also criticized the Healthcare.gov website for "poorly written code" and linked to a javascript file used in the registration process. The file is 484 Kb big. The code also includes unusual text strings such as 'Reduce The Number of keysThis is a Links'.

In 2012 internet marketing company SitePoint reported that the average web page involved 1.25 Mb of data of which 214 Kilobytes was from javascript.

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