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CA Governor Gavin Newsom chooses political donors to run immunization program – Deadline

California announced Monday evening that Blue Shield had been selected as the state’s third-party administrator for vaccine distribution. Governor Gavin Newsom has been promising for weeks to release details of the contract. These details were made public yesterday, a public holiday, the same day the no-offer contract went into effect.

As part of the contract, an algorithm created by Blue Shield will sort vaccine distribution across California. Newsom’s administration will have the final say on where vaccines are distributed and what criteria determine the number of vaccines intended for each site. Blue shield is up for grabs up to $ 15 million, an amount capped in the contract.

The agreement with Blue Shield and another with Kaiser were authorized by Newsom under an emergency provision that does not require legislative approval. The governor announced the deal late last month, but the contract was not signed until Friday. The terms of the contract run until December 31, 2021. The deal with healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente has not yet been released.

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Blue Shield occupies an important place in California political campaigns. He spent over $ 1 million to support Newsom’s 2018 campaign and over $ 1 million to lobby state officials in the last legislative session. In January 2020, Blue Shield also donated $ 20 million to support Newsom’s high profile campaign to tackle homelessness.

In early February, Newsom argued that tying Blue Shield’s support to the vaccination deal was “absurd.”

“Everyone has come together to see what works, what doesn’t, and we’ve identified two partners in particular, two nonprofits, Kaiser and Blue Shield,” the governor said. “They’ve got the kind of scale, they’ve got the ability… that we were looking for.”

Blue Shield is responsible for creating a vaccine network that will be built in three geographic “waves”. The regions and timelines for this plan are not included in the contract that has been published. The LA Times reported a tentative schedule – which has been confirmed to the journal by the California Department of Public Health – in which Central Valley counties such as Fresno, Kern, San Joaquin and Stanislaus are in the first wave which begins on February 21.

Some of the state’s largest counties, including Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and San Diego, are identified as second wave regions. The target for the deployment to Southern California would be March 7. After that, the counties of San Francisco, Contra Costa and Alameda would be integrated into the vaccination network.

State data operations throughout the pandemic have been plagued by glitches and revelations of system failure, including last August when it was discovered – by county health officials – that multiple errors on the part of the state had caused a backlog of 250,000 to 300,000 Covid-19 tests. records case data in its notification system. The California director of public health resigned shortly after.

Then there was the easing of restrictions in January 2021, which was welcomed by critics at Newsom, but confusing for anyone trying to follow the logic of the closures, as most Covid-19 data points are self- State identifiers were above what they were when the restrictions were implemented last fall.

And there’s also the continuing cascade of unemployment fraud disclosures. As federal money poured in to help Californians affected by the pandemic last fall, the state sent an estimated $ 1 billion to prisoners who fraudulently qualified for help. And it’s not just the prisoners who benefit from the chaos.

A January 28 state audit estimated that the amount of ESD (unemployment insurance) fraud committed in California between March and December 2020 could exceed $ 10.4 billion.

Capitole public radio found at least six companies that made political contributions to Newsom had received non-competitive contracts from the state, influential appointments or other opportunities related to the California pandemic response.

To its credit, the state launched a website which lists Covid-related contracts worth a quarter of a million dollars or more. There are over 100 contracts listed. Many of them are with companies that have not made major contributions to the governor.

One of the companies that did contributions was UnitedHealth. Newsom has brought in UnitedHealth to resolve California’s data issues. The state has repeatedly failed in testing and tracking the data, causing confusion among residents, cities and counties.

The state awarded a potential $ 177 million non-competitive contract to a UnitedHealth subsidiary to expand testing. The state also awarded an additional $ 315 million in contracts to other subsidiaries through an expedited tendering process.

According to Capitol Public Radio, UnitedHealth contributed $ 31,000 to Newsom’s re-election campaign in December and an additional $ 100,000 to its Ballot Measurement Committee.

There was also heckling over a $ 990 million non-tender contract for the masks awarded to BYD. This company was supposed to quickly manufacture the much sought after N95 masks at its factory in China. The company was forced to repay around $ 250 million for not meeting a fitshopee. Newsom then agreed to an extension last summer worth another $ 100 million for the company. The president of BYD contributed around $ 40,000 to Newsom’s campaign in 2018 and 2019.

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