Image: A man looks over the Affordable Care Act signup page on the website in New York in this photo illustration
Mike Segar / Reuters

Nightly News   |  October 17, 2013

More than $196 million spent on glitch-ridden

The company that built the botched website where people are supposed to sign up for the Obama’s health care exchanges has spent millions of dollars developing, but people are still having trouble signing up. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> we said it many times. had it not been for the government shutdown becoming our lead story for these past 16 days and nights, it may well have been obama care and the incredibly rocky rollout for the federal government 's health care website. the system is not ready for the volume. some republicans are saying the secretary of health and human services , kathleen sebelius , should be fired as a company ceo could be fired after any botched rollout like this. our report tonight on what went wrong from nbc's tom costello.

>> reporter: almost two weeks after the glitch of the rollout of the health care website, congress is talking.

>> people are enrolling across the country.

>> reporter: who is behind the website? it is the u.s. arm of a canadian company, cgi federal. they grew dramatically during the bush administration . then on october 4 , 2011 , it was awarded a 55,744,081 price tag. by may of this year, the contract shows cgi had spent $196,000, and the ceiling price tag had soared to $292 million.

>> is this escalation in price due to fact of the quick turnaround time to get this website up and running? are there technical glitches and bugs that are driving the cost up?

>> reporter: the government said the cost went up as more states joined the federal exchange. for weeks cgi has failed to comment about the troubled rollout. ontario fired cgi and canceled its $46 million contract, accusing the company of failing to build an on-line medical registry on time. cgi tells nbc news it's in talks to resolve the issues. they say the problems with the website are serious.

>> it doesn't work. it's supposed to give you a quote. it doesn't do that.

>> reporter: lou chung owns a software and data base company.

>> if this was your company, what would you say?

>> i would be embarrassed and i would use language with my development team that couldn't be on the air. this is ridiculous.

>> reporter: a health care analyst it says cgi was forced to deal with late design changes ordered by the government.

>> it would back up their ability to test to see whether everything was functioning properly.

>> reporter: last june a gao report forshadowed these problems, warning the website might not be ready to go live in part because of all the last-minute design changes. and cgi has helped establish some state web sites that have actually gotten pretty good reviews. brian?

>> tom costello in our newsroom tonight. tom, thanks. speaking of