Saturday, May 3, 2014

Accenture Comes Through For!

Accenture has come through -- with respect to our predictions I mean. It's a racket.

Barack Obama taking direction from health care industry
CEO's at the White House, Washington, DC.
When the Obama administration pushed through a no-bid contract award to put Accenture on the Obamacare contract, replacing the original IT contracter, CGI, we said this is how contract selection works -- contacts and influence, no merit.

In my experience, Accenture is one of the two or three most expensive of the gang of Beltway bandits. The firm hires former federal officials who worm their way back into agencies to roam the halls and glad hand, cajole and manipulate (or worse) contract awards from their former colleagues and subordinates. I saw it first hand when I worked at Postal Service Headquarters in DC, where Accenture's inside marketing lead was a former Deputy Postmaster General, the number two man in the agency (his masked, last nameless, LinkedIn profile is here), who had at one time or another been chief operating officer, chief financial officer and head of employee and labor relations. You or I would get an armed escort out of the building if we roamed around the grounds and into and out of offices the way that guy did, but among the portals of official Washington, DC he is courted with open arms.
As for what work the successor contract required, we noted that Accenture was being hired to confront and resolve back end/back office web site difficulties. Large parts of the platform had never been built. does not track payments or allow the government
to calculate its subsidy payments accurately.
The back (financial) end of the website is not built, so the government not only doesn't know how many people have actually purchased insurance, it also cannot determine how much of your taxpayer subsidy money to forward to health insurance companies. Change management (like if you have a baby to add to a policy), opt out and cancellation processes are also not implemented. As the website stands now, you can sign up but cannot get out. I can't wait until we hear the stories about poor penniless survivors forced to continue to pay for a deceased loved one's health insurance. It's gonna happen.
The government said it was bringing in Accenture on a non-competitive basis because it wanted to be sure the work got done the right way, right now. Looking at Accenture's business model and track record, nuts to that we said.
Supposedly the new contractor will timely rectify website failures. But if you really think there will be something materially different or significantly improved now that Accenture will be managing the website code writing exercise, you may want to think again.
So to our surprise shock and dismay, here is the headline months later.
Price Tag for Repairs Jumps to $121 Million; 'Back End' Still a Mess
It can be embarrassing -- to be so right.
After shelling out $677 million to build the federal health care website, the government will spend an additional $121 million in 2014 to repair it—$30 million more than previously estimated—the Washington Times reported last night. This comes just as the Obama administration is starting the hunt for next year’s diverse group of contractors.

CGI Federal, the original lead contractor awarded $93.7 million, was replaced by Accenture this past January. Accenture received an initial payment of $45 million—an amount that was supposed to double by year’s end, according to the Washington Post. But yesterday, Accenture Federal Services announced their final agreement of $121 million for work through January 10, 2015.
Accenture is outstanding at doing one thing and one thing only -- collecting outrageous sums of money.
All that work that had to get done -- well, it did not.
This year, Accenture is tasked with repairs and additions such as “enhancing the back-end capabilities to improve user payments,” according to the Washington Times. The Hill reported in January that the “back end” had to be operational by mid-March, or “disaster” would ensue and the whole law could be “jeopardized.” In fact, that was the main reason Accenture was brought on board so hastily without a full bidding process, The Hill noted. 
But last Friday, Politico stated that the back end might not be completed by the summer, detailing what it called an “overlooked chapter” of Obamacare: 
Obama administration officials originally intended to have the major back-end components of working by the website’s launch in October….
The deadline for completing those pieces gave way to January and then to mid-March. Senior officials said early last month that they hoped to have the entire system ready by the summer. Now, even summer appears to be a question mark.
The government is clueless on what is going on with Obamacare financially. It is wasting money left and right. Pay no attention. Carry on. Good luck to all.

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