The Corner

More Questions about the Insurance Exchange Contractors

Concerns have now been aired about three of the highest paid contract recipients working on the Obamacare insurance exchanges.

The New York Post reports today that UnitedHealth Group’s Quality Software Services Inc., has already received about $150 million. But it turns out that Anthony Welters, executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group, was a “top campaign bundler and frequent White House guest.” The Post continues:

Welters and his wife, Beatrice, have shoveled piles of cash into Obama’s campaign coffers and ­apparently reaped the rewards.

Beatrice Welters bundled donations totaling between $200,000 and $500,000 for Obama’s campaign during the 2008 election ­cycle, according to campaign- ­finance data compiled by Center for Responsive Politics.

The couple then became top donors for Obama’s inauguration festivities, kicking in $100,000 out of their own pockets and bundling another $300,000 from friends and business associates, according to the center.

The investments quickly paid off for Beatrice Welters. The Obama administration tapped her in 2009 for the plum job of US ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, which she held through last November.

The couple have been frequent guests at the White House.

Visitors logs show at least a dozen visits between the two by the end of 2012, the most recent information available.

The entire Welters family has gotten into the donation game.

The Welters, along with their sons, Andrew and Bryant, have contributed more than $258,000 to mostly Democratic candidates and committees since 2007.

And only a few days ago, we learned that CGI Federal, the lead contractor for the federal health-insurance website, also had a relationship with the Obamas. Toni Townes-Whitley, the company’s senior vice president, attended Princeton with Michelle Obama, and attended a White House Christmas party. Furthermore, both Townes-Whitley and her boss, George Schindler, donated to the 2012 Obama campaign.

CGI Federal received a contract worth at least $93.7 million, and there’s some strange happenings surrounding the procurement process, the Washington Examiner reports:

Rather than open the contracting process to a competitive public solicitation with multiple bidders, officials in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid accepted a sole bidder, CGI Federal, the U.S. subsidiary of a Canadian company with an uneven record of IT pricing and contract performance. . . .

It appears they used what amounts to a federal procurement system loophole to award the work to the Canadian firm. . . . 

In awarding the contract, CMS relied on a little-known federal contracting system called ID/IQ, which is government jargon for “Indefinite Delivery and Indefinite Quantity.”

CGI was a much smaller vendor when it was approved by HHS in 2007. With the approval, CGI became eligible for multiple awards without public notice and in circumvention of the normal competitive bidding procurement process.

And I’ve reported this past week on Serco, the British multinational corporation that received a contract worth $1.249 billion after spending heavily on lobbying and political contributions, including to the Obama campaign.

And Serco has also recently been the subject of several scandals abroad, including allegations of overbilling and falsifying performance records submitted to the government. Furthermore, women at Yarl’s Wood immigrant-detention center in Britain, which is run by Serco, have alleged they were sexually coerced. Regardless, the Obama administration has defended its choice of Serco and has even upped their contract value — it’s now worth up to $1.336 billion.

Kinda makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Jillian Kay Melchior — Jillian Kay Melchior writes for National Review as a Thomas L. Rhodes Fellow for the Franklin Center. She is also a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.

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