The race to construct an online insurance exchange by Oct. 1 spurred the Obama administration to use an expedited bidding system that limited its choice of a builder to just four companies, including CGI Group.

Eighteen months elapsed after passage of the 2010 health care overhaul before CGI was selected to begin work, government documents show. That left the Montreal-based vendor two years to create a website, Healthcare.gov, designed to link consumers with insurers while drawing data from a variety of U.S. agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service.

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