Report: Officials 'Misled' Public About Connector Failures

A new report on the botched rollout of the state's revamped health insurance website alleges Massachusetts officials "misled" the public and federal officials about the site's woes.

"State officials knew that development of a federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) website was off track for more than a year before the October 1, 2013 launch date," the Pioneer Institute, a right-leaning think tank, said in a press release about its report. "Instead of raising concerns about the project, they misled the public by minimizing the shortcomings of the contractor hired to build the website, asked state workers to approve shoddy work and appear to have covered up the project’s abysmal progress in a presentation to federal officials."

The report out Monday from the Pioneer Institute — a persistent critic of the Patrick administration's handling of the Health Connector's redesign — is based on "third-party audits and hours of interviews with multiple whistleblowers with first-hand knowledge of the project."

The 2013 website, built in conjunction with the federal health law, was eventually scrapped, costing the state millions, and a rebuilt health exchange was launched in November.

“Citizens should demand accountability of public officials that left us with this mess, and try to prevent this from becoming an IT version of the Big Dig,” Josh Archambault, the author of the Pioneer report, said in the press release.

Archambault's report finds state officials failed "to commit sufficient resources to the project," "failed to hold CGI [the contractor] accountable for shoddy work" and attempted to conceal shortcomings from the public and federal officials.

The report comes days after it was made public that federal authorities earlier this year had subpoenaed records related to the Health Connector, including a period covering the breakdown of the health exchange’s website.



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