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HHS Drops No-Bid Contract With Chicago Group to Increase Health Insurance for Prisoners

"Who knows how many similar efforts are being undertaken that the public never finds out about?”

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) answers questions as he arrives for a meeting of Senate Republicans on a solution for the pending budget and debt limit impasse at the U.S. Capitol Oct. 16, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (Getty)

The Department of Health and Human Services dropped a no-bid contract with a Chicago-based organization to increase health insurance enrollment for prisoners after a congressional inquiry, according to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.).

HHS awarded the contract to Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, a community advocacy organization based in Chicago, to “increase insurance enrollment for… individuals involved in the criminal justice system.”

sessions Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) answers questions as he arrives for a meeting of Senate Republicans on a solution for the pending budget and debt limit impasse at the U.S. Capitol Oct. 16, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (Getty)

“This unjustifiable contract never should have been awarded, and I’m glad HHS has seen fit to cancel it,” Sessions said in a statement. “It defies common sense that the administration would create a special prisoner program in light of the millions spent already on the much-criticized Navigators program, which is said to serve all Americans. Who knows how many similar efforts are being undertaken that the public never finds out about?”

The HHS awarded the contract on July 11 without a competitive bid process, according to Sessions, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee. In a July 19 letter, Sessions reminded HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that competitive bids are required by law and asking for an explanation.

Obamacare allocates $54 million for “navigators” to help various populations become enrolled in health care plans. Another $150 million is being awarded to “assisters” to supplement the effort.

HHS did not respond to request for comment from TheBlaze at this time.

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