Lawmakers raise suspicions about contractor

During the troubled rollout of the website--glitches, delays and errors--the Obama administration hired technology company Quality Software Systems Inc. (QSSI) to rid the site of its problems.

Yet because its sister company, UnitedHealthcare, sells plans on the marketplaces, many congressional Republicans are questioning the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services's decision to enlist help from the tech firm, reports The Daily Signal. In addition to a potential conflict of interest, they're worried customer information is not properly protected. 

UnitedHealth Group's acquisition of QSSI in September 2012 was rather hush-hush, with the only public announcement appearing on the website of law firm Jenner & Block, which represented QSSI in the deal, notes the article.

Soon after the deal, Republican lawmakers questioned a potential conflict of interest to then-HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. HHS made clear it was aware of the conflict associated with the contract and didn't put out a press release because "word could too easily get out about the firewall project," the Weekly Standard reported at the time, notes The Daily Signal.

Then last October, when the Obama administration launched a "tech surge" to solve some of the more complicated technical problems on the botched site, HHS announced QSSI would take over managing the federal insurance exchange. This past January, QSSI teamed up with Maryland, Massachusetts and Minnesota to work on their state-run exchanges, reports The Daily Signal.

Moreover, UnitedHealth recently announced plans to sell offerings on 24 exchanges in 2015, raising more suspicions.

Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) sent a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, asking for documents related to the QSSI contract, as well as any documents regarding a conflict of interest.

For more:
- here's the Daily Signal article