Health

Probe sought in award of no-bid health care deals

Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee speaks during a press conference regarding the health insurance exchange for the state of California, on November 13, 2013 in Sacramento, California.
Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee speaks during a press conference regarding the health insurance exchange for the state of California, on November 13, 2013 in Sacramento, California.
Max Whittaker/Getty Images

A consumer group is calling on the state attorney general to investigate whether taxpayer dollars were misused when California's health insurance exchange awarded $184 million in no-bid contracts.

The group Consumer Watchdog said Monday a probe should determine if Covered California consultants hired under the deals used their positions to advance insurance industry interests.

An Associated Press report Sunday revealed dozens of contracts without competitive bidding.

The Legislature gave Covered California broad authority to award no-bid contracts to meet federal deadlines to get the agency running. The agency says it followed all rules.

State Sen. Ted Gaines —€” a Republican running for state insurance commissioner — says those rules must change and calls the deals "outrageous."

The consumer group is behind a ballot proposition to increase the insurance commissioner's power.