Corrente readers could see this coming in May 2013: "California exchange spending and contractors exempted from open records law". I'm sure there are plenty of rationalizations for exemptions like that, but it's hard to think of any good reasons. And so we come to today's story from AP:
AP Exclusive: California gives no-bid health pacts
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- California's health insurance exchange has awarded $184 million in contracts without the competitive bidding and oversight that is standard practice across state government, including deals that sent millions of dollars to a firm whose employees have long-standing ties to the agency's executive director. ...
Several of those contracts worth a total of $4.2 million went to a consulting firm, The Tori Group, whose founder has strong professional ties to agency Executive Director Peter Lee, while others were awarded to a subsidiary of a health care company he once headed.
Awarding no-bid contracts is unusual in state government, where rules promote "open and fair competition" to give taxpayers the best deal and avoid ethical conflicts. The practice is generally reserved for emergencies or when no known competition exists. ...
The agency confirmed some no-bid contracts were awarded to people with previous professional ties to Lee, but emphasized Covered California was under pressure to move fast and needed specialized skills.
What a steaming load of crap. They had four years to build the system, and "specialized skills" are always a rationalization for cronyism. I mean, come on. The bidding process is meant to find out if the needed skills really are all that specialized! Read below the fold...
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