McSweeney questions quashed bid at hearing on Medicaid overhaul
Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) point blank called out comments made by Gov. Bruce Rauner and questioned whether Chief Procurement Officer Ellen Daley could be trusted at Thursday's House Appropriations-Human Services Committee regarding the state's $60 billion revamp plan to increase managed care to Medicaid patients.
At the hearing, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) Director Felicia Norwood was asked by McSweeney why Rauner allegedly lied regarding Daley quashing a HFS contract with McKinsey & Co. that was part of the revamp.
“The governor said this week it was a competitive bid, what did he mean by that,” McSweeny asked, adding that though he is not a committee member, he was at the hearing because the contract is a significant financial issue for the state.
“It was part of his comments when he said he wasn’t in charge of the state,” McSweeney said. “Is that not a correct statement that the governor made?”
“Representative, I did not hear the governor’s comments, but what I can tell you is the contract was not competitively bid because it is exempt from the procurement code,” Norwood said.
McSweeney wanted the names of the supposed firms the governor said bid for the contract, saying if she came back empty-handed, then the governor made an erroneous statement.
“Representative that contract was not competitively bid,” Norwood repeated.
McSweeney then wanted to know what the exact relationship Deputy Governor Trey Chlidress had with the contract.
“I can’t tell you what relationship he has with McKinsey, but I can tell you he is not involved with the McKinsey contract of which I am personally in charge of,” Norwood said.
That is when McSweeney began questioning Norwood about Daley. “The governor last night said the Chief Procurement Office was unduly influenced by the speaker of the House,” McSweeney said. “Do you have any proof of that there was influence used?”
“Representative, I am not here to comment on what the governor said last night,” Norwood said.
Thirty minutes later, McSweeney brought up the matter again. “There was a very serious charge made by the governor last night, he accused the chief procurement officer of impropriety,” McSweeney said. “Do you believe the current chief procurement officer is an honest person?”
“I won’t comment on that,” Norwood said after hesitation.
“Do you believe in your mind there that there was improper influence place on the CPO and that you will be able to develop proof on that, because this is a really serious charge the governor made?” McSweeney asked.
Again, Norwood refused to comment. McSweeney said he wanted the names of the bidding firms the governor allegedly said were put in the ring for the contract.
“I will be checking my emails multiple times a day,” McSweeney said. “If there is any proof, provide that proof to the committee members of the state of Illinois. If there was improper influence, I have not seen any proof, and if not, the governor needs to apologize.”