Michigan: You've gotta be kidding me: Snyder admin awards $90M to company that botched HC.gov job
The cognitive dissonance of the Republican Party (otherwise known as "hypocrisy" or simply "chutzpah" in layman's terms) is amazing.
Remember the complete FAIL of the Healthcare.gov launch last October? Remember how Republicans were screaming from the hills about a Canadian firm (instead of a U.S. based one) winning the largest site development contract, and then proceeding to utterly botch the job? Remember how the same company, CGI of Montreal, also dropped the ball in several of the state-run exchanges, including Hawaii, Vermont, and most infamously, Massachusetts???
Well, guess what story just broke here in Michigan?
LANSING, MI -- Michigan has awarded a $90 million contract to the Canadian tech company that built HealthCare.gov despite rollout problems with the federal website and a lower bid from another company.
CGI Technologies and Solutions of Montreal will earn up to $89.5 million over seven years to build an Enterprise Resource Planning system for the state, replacing an antiquated internal management system used for payroll, contract payments and more.
The response from state Democrats was understandable:
"It's extremely concerning that this administration is awarding a $90 million contract to a Canadian company whose recent track record is, at best, very questionable," said Bob McCann, a spokesperson for Senate Democrats and Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer. "This could possibly be justified if CGI had submitted the lowest bid for the contract, but we know that wasn't even the case.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer called the contract "outrageous."
And who exactly approved the decision to go with CGI?
The State Administrative Board, which approved the contract last week, includes representatives of the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, superintendent of public instruction and director of the Department of Transportation.
Ah, of course.
Now, don't get me wrong: I realize that CGI is a huge corporation with other federal (and, apparently, state) contracts, and I realize that the technical challenges of the ACA exchanges were different from what they're normally used to. At my much smaller website development level, I know that I'm much better at some types of site development projects than others; perhaps they'll do a good job in this case.
Even so, after all the non-stop, endless screaming and teeth-gnashing by ACA critics (and even many ACA supporters) over the CGI debacle last fall, it's astonishingly tone-deaf for the Snyder administration to issue the same company such a sizeable contract, especially when there were other US-based companies with good reputations on such projects (and lower bids) in the running as well. I'm waiting for a huge outcry by the Michigan GOP over the decision; I'm sure that'll come any minute now...