Rauner health chief defends $63B Medicaid contract

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner’s health care chief says a $63 billion Medicaid managed care program will save up to $300 million a year because of the competitive process providers had to undergo.

Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Felicia Norwood told lawmakers in Chicago Thursday that savings result from insurers accepting lower rates to participate.

Chicago Democratic Rep. Greg Harris is chairman of the Appropriations-Human Services Committee and a sharp critic of the four-year deal. Thursday’s hearing was one in a series to examine the plan to add 800,000 Medicaid clients to managed care.

Harris believes the contract should have been let through a traditional bidding process.

A state regulator invalidated a $12.5 million consulting portion of the package this week because HFS did not seek bids.