Tuesday, October 22, 2013

UPDATE: Former Idaho Health Exchange Board Member Walks Away From Contract in Wake of Controversy

Posted By on Tue, Oct 22, 2013 at 12:05 PM

UPDATE: October 22, 2013 12 p.m.

The controversy swirling around a $375,000 contract being awarded by the Idaho Health Insurance Exchange Board to one of its former board members ended this morning, when the board member voluntarily canceled the deal.

The Associated Press reports that Frank Chan, founder of Boise-based Applied Computing, walked away from the contract prior to a special meeting of the board after coming under fire from a number of Idaho lawmakers, including Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke who called the deal "indefensible."

ORIGINAL POST: October 22, 2013 9 a.m.

When members of the Idaho Health Insurance Exchange Board—each appointed by Governor Ç.L. "Butch" Otter—meet today, two Idaho lawmakers are expected to call for the nullification of a recently-awarded $375,000 contract, awarded to a former board member.

Frank Chan, founder of Boise-based Applied Computing, was a member of the board until Oct. 16, the same day Applied Computing won a six-figure contract with the exchange. According to the Associated Press, the contract would have Applied Computing "oversee the exchange's technology vendors as Your Health Idaho switches from a software system provided by the federal government to a state-based system to take applications for health care coverage."

The one-year contract, with a maximum value of $375,000, was awarded through a no-bid process.

And at least three Idaho lawmakers say it doesn't pass the smell test. Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke called the deal "indefensible." Caldwell Republican Sen. Jim Rice and McCammon Republican Rep. Kelley Packer, both of whom sit on the board, say they'll ask that the contract be voided, according to the AP.

The AP reports that Exchange Director Amy Dowd "has said it was necessary to hire Chan without publicly advertising the contract or seeking alternative bids because Idaho is under tight deadlines to complete its exchange."

House Minority Leader Rep. John Rusche, a Democrat from Lewiston and also a member of the board, said he agreed to meet in special session today before arriving at a conclusion about whether the contract was appropriate.

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