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Report: Canadian tech firm CGI loses Obamacare website contract

WASHINGTON - There's a report that the U.S. government is about to dump the Canadian company that was hired to create healthcare.gov, the website whose glitches have undermined President Barack Obama's health reform.

The Washington Post says the government will not renew the contract for Montreal-based CGI when it runs out at the end of February.

Presidential spokesman Jay Carney is not confirming or denying the report, saying it's up to the health agency overseeing the project to provide that information.

The agency tells The Canadian Press that it's working with its contract partners on a "mutually agreed-upon transition" so that site works smoothly.

The health-care reform effort, a defining feature of Obama's presidency, requires people to sign on to insurance exchanges, especially healthy young people, primarily through the website.

But the launch was sideswiped by technical glitches. Obama admitted there had been what he called "fumbles," and his health secretary even conceded that it had been a "debacle."

CGI (TSE:GIB.A) and its U.S. division each saw their shares slide about three per cent following the release of the report.

The company says it will release a statement later today.

The Obamacare rollout fiasco prompted unprecedented media scrutiny in the U.S. for the Canadian company, which was founded in Quebec City in 1976 and has grown into a multinational operation with 68,000 employees in 40 countries.

But amid the rollout woes, and the political opposition to Obamacare in the U.S., the company faced criticism in the U.S.; some media reports even noted its involvement in the now-defunct Canadian long-gun registry.

The Post says U.S. officials are preparing to sign a 12-month contract, worth roughly US$90 million, with a different company, Accenture, that built a health exchange for the state of California.

The newspaper says the move comes after the administration concluded that CGI has not been effective enough in fixing the website.

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