Next week the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide the fate of the controversial federal health care law. With the Court’s ruling less than a week a way it was interesting to see the following sole-source contract notice posted yesterday by the Office of Financial Management (OFM):

Here are the details of the sole-source notice:

“The Office of Financial Management contemplates awarding a sole source contract to GMMB, Inc. for an approximate six (6) month period to provide consulting services to develop a comprehensive communications plan. Contingent on funding, the Contractor will develop and implement strategies and tactics identified in the plan to enhance Washington‘s implementation of the Affordable Care Act (national health reform) and other health reform initiatives as identified by the Governor’s Policy Office.

Because of the extremely tight funding timeline and complexities of the Affordable Care Act’s implementation and related Medicaid expansion, it is necessary to engage the services of the GMMB, Inc.

GMMB has a long standing relationship with one of the funders and current Washington experience to build upon.  Through this same funder, they are providing intensive technical assistance to multiple states working to implement the Affordable Care Act.  As such, they have recent experience with other key national consultants who are providing policy analysis for Washington’s low-income population coverage programs.  They are serving the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (HBE).  Thus, they have critical knowledge and unique connections to key components and key players who are working to implement national health reform. Because of its recent experiences with the HBE, and leveraging work in other states, GMMB is are able to meet demands under an aggressive project timeline, and do it quickly and cost-efficiently.

The contract will be issued on or about July 06, 2012.

Offerors contemplating the above requirements are required to submit capability statements detailing their ability to meet the state’s requirements within five (5) business days of this announcement.  In the absence of other qualified sources, it is the state’s intent to make a sole source award of the contract.”

According to OFM, the funding source for the $400,000 contract is a mix of federal funds and private money from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

When asked about the timing of this sole-source notice, the Governor’s Office said, “The period of performance for federal funds expires August 31, 2012.”

Notwithstanding this federal deadline, it remains unclear why OFM felt the need to post this sole-source notice yesterday and close next week versus waiting for the Supreme Court to decide the fate of the law OFM is seeking to build a communications strategy for.

As for the potential impacts on the state depending on what the Court decides, here is a brief matrix provided by the Health Care Authority.

Should the entire law be overturned by the Court, the Office of Financial Management anticipates that the state health care exchange law will need to be revisited by the Legislature since it relies heavily on federal subsidies to function.

The Court’s decision is expected sometime between next Monday and Thursday.


[Reprinted with permission from the Washington Policy Center blog]