CEO of Obamacare website firm: We were ‘never fired’

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The chief of CGI Group, the Canadian contractor most closely linked to the flawed rollout of Obamacare last fall, told investment analysts Wednesday the company was not “fired” by anyone in the U.S. and that fallout from the web glitches was overblown in the press.

“Clearly, some of the work around the health exchanges have temporarily had an impact on the business,” CGI President and CEO Michael E. Roach said on an earnings call.

“Despite what you hear in the papers, we have not been fired from any health exchange,” he said, noting the company did not receive letters of termination from anyone. “So the reality on the ground, versus the perception in the press — there’s a big gap there. We’re dealing on the reality side, here.”

CGI has been partially faulted by the federal government for its performance on HealthCare.gov, the Obamacare website that served 36 states and stumbled out of the gate Oct. 1 with capacity and software issues. A team of tech gurus scrambled to stabilize the system by December.

In January, Obama administration announced it would not continue working with CGI. Instead it selected Accenture to build out the rest of the exchange system and prep it for the 2015 open enrollment.

This week, Accenture announced it has finalized a one-year contract worth $121 million, or about $30 million more than the roughly $90 million the government paid up front or set aside ahead of a formal review of the work that needed to be done.

CGI reported a good second quarter of fiscal 2014, buoyed by robust business in Europe, and Mr. Roach said he expected an uptick in U.S. business as the year unfolds and the company puts the Obamacare turmoil behind them.

On the call, Mr. Roach passionately defended the company’s U.S. work and the “good people” who carried it out.

“Our company, when it comes to the health care business, was hired by the federal government and we have not been fired — anywhere,” he said.

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