Covered California

By Jim Miller
jmiller@sacbee.com
Published: Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 – 12:00 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 – 8:42 am

The group backing a health insurance rate-control measure on next month’s ballot called on Attorney General Kamala Harris on Monday to investigate millions of dollars in no-bid contracts by Covered California and reported links between the health exchange’s executives and and the insurance industry.

The demand by Consumer Watchdog, a main supporter of Proposition 45, came after The Associated Press reported that Covered California had awarded $184 million in contracts without competitive bidding. The total included millions of dollars in contracts to firms or people that had professional ties to Covered California executive director Peter Lee, according to the report.

The Associated Press reported that $4.2 million in contracts went to The Tori Group, a consulting firm whose founder had once worked with Lee. Other contracts went to the subsidiary of a firm Lee once led, according to the report.

“This isn’t about speed. This is about being opaque,” said Consumer Watchdog president Jamie Court, rejecting Covered California’s claim that it needed uncompetitive contracts to meet the tight deadlines to carry out the state version of the federal Affordable Care Act. “For $4.2 million to flow to a former associate without any oversight is the antithesis of open government and good government.”

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