The $1 Billion IT Question About Healthcare.gov
Posted at 1:52 p.m. on May 21, 2014
In answering written queries from Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee members outside of her confirmation hearings, Health and Human Services secretary nominee Sylvia Mathews Burwell indicated that Healthcare.gov has cost the government at least $834 million in IT spending so far, and another $200 million is being requested for fiscal 2015:
… What has been the total cost of creating healthcare.gov to date? What has been the total cost of “fixing” healthcare.gov? Please include a detailed accounting of all costs associated with this website, including (but not limited to) salaries and expenditures, contractor costs, and training.
Answer: It is my understanding that as of February 28, 2014, CMS has obligated a total of approximately $834 million on Marketplace-related IT contracts and interagency agreements. These expenditures include the website and the systems that support enrollment through the Marketplace, such as the data services hub as well as other supporting IT infrastructure, including cloud computing, to support Marketplace IT development.
… What financial outlays are expected for fixing the backend of healthcare.gov? Please include a detailed estimate of future costs for fixing and maintaining the website, including (but not limited to) salaries and expenditures, contractor costs, and training.
Answer: The President’s Budget reflects a need for approximately $200 million for all Marketplace-related IT in FY 2015, some of which is funded through user fees. Much of this amount reflects ongoing operational and maintenance costs of HealthCare.gov, as well as continued development.
Burwell appeared before the HELP panel earlier in May, and the Senate Finance Committee about a week later. The Finance panel is considering Burwell’s nomination this afternoon, and CQ HealthBeat says the full Senate could vote on it before the end of the month.
She has been well-received by senators. “While both the committee and final Senate votes may not be unanimous, the lack of vitriol over the nomination is a notable change in tone from ongoing battles over the health care overhaul law,” writes CQ Roll Call’s Paul Jenks.