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Statement: Councilmember Robert White Urges Administration & Council to Follow Legal Medicaid MCO Contract Awarding Process, Not Lobbyist Influence Campaign  

On Friday, September 30, contract extensions were approved for the District’s current Managed Care Organization (MCO) contractors from October 1 through the end of 2022. These contract extensions are an interim measure while the Council awaits new contracts (totaling over $2 billion) from the executive, following an extremely delayed contract awarding process that should have concluded many months ago.

My priority is to make sure that the MCO contract awards, and all DC procurements, happen through the proper, legal, process. The District’s procurement laws insulate the contracting process from outside influences. I do not believe the District is well-served when politicians or lobbyists intervene in the contracting process.

In making my decision not to submit a disapproval notice for the contract extensions, I requested from the executive, in writing, confirmation that they will send the new MCO contracts for the Council’s consideration in time for our October 18 legislative meeting. I took this step because the Council and the executive have followed a Groundhog Day-like cycle for the past year. The executive misses a deadline to share new MCO contracts with the Council, the Council negotiates a new deadline and approves a good faith extension of the current MCO contracts so that District residents on Medicaid do not suffer a gap in healthcare coverage, and the executive misses the subsequent deadline, again requiring the Council to vote on emergency contracts.

Now, as we approach the end of that unacceptably long process, insurance industry groups are spending huge sums to try and sway the outcome because they have not been successful in either the contracting process or in their legal protests before the Contract Appeals Board or the Courts. The Council must not step into the shoes of contracting and healthcare professionals by picking winners outside of the legal procurement process. I am calling on the executive to uphold their commitment to deliver the new MCO contracts for the Council to take up by our October 18 legislative meeting, and I am calling on the Council to approve the contracts the executive submits absent a violation of the procurement laws. It’s time to conclude this long overdue process and ensure a smooth transition for our residents.

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