Oct 29 2013
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, announced today that the Department of Health and Human Services had canceled a no-bid contract to “increase insurance enrollment for… individuals involved in the criminal justice system.” The sole-source contract had been awarded to Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, a community advocacy organization based in Chicago, Illinois:
“This unjustifiable contract never should have been awarded, and I’m glad HHS has seen fit to cancel it. It defies common sense that the Administration would create a special prisoner program in light of the millions spent already on the much-criticized Navigators program, which is said to serve all Americans. Who knows how many similar efforts are being undertaken that the public never finds out about?
The flaws with the President’s health care law go far beyond the government website, and minor fixes will not save taxpayers from its crushing burden. Problems like these are pervasive throughout the law and are just one of the many reasons why Congress should develop reforms that will actually reduce costs and protect patients and the taxpayers.”
On July 11, HHS announced it had awarded a no-bid contract to TASC-IL to promote the President’s health law to prisoners. Although it was legally required to do so, HHS provided no justification for why the contract had been awarded on a sole-source basis. Sessions wrote to the Department on July 19 asking for explanation and exploring the funding source for the contract; more than $200 million has already been allocated for Navigators and enrollment “Assisters” across the country, but it was unclear if HHS was using that funding stream for the new prison program.
The Department cancelled the contract without ever responding to Sessions’ letter.