NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A day after the airing of a NewsChannel 5 investigation, Tennessee House Republicans quietly dropped an effort to force state officials to award a contract potentially worth billions of dollars every year to a politically connected company.
NewsChannel 5 Investigates revealed that the plan to give the TennCare contract to Centene Corp. would have eventually cost taxpayers $90 million annually.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. Charlie Baum, R-Murfreesboro, made no mention of the proposal when his bill came up Tuesday in the House Finance subcommittee.
With no debate, the subcommittee adopted an amendment that dropped that proposal from an otherwise uncontroversial bill.
NewsChannel 5 reached out to Baum for comment, along with House Speaker Cameron Sexton, who had backed the controversial proposal. So far, we've not received a response.
The controversy arose after Centene submitted a proposal, along with three other companies, to provide healthcare services for the poor through the state's TennCare program. TennCare follows a model that utilizes three such managed-care organizations (MCOs), and the procurement process resulted in the other three companies being selected.
Baum's legislation would have forced TennCare to go to a four-MCO model and to give the contract to Centene, instead of beginning a new procurement process.
Centene filed a formal protest over the awarding of the contract. That protest is awaiting a hearing before the State Protest Board.
Related: Billion-dollar bill would give contract to politically connected company
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