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A tentative winner has been announced for a $900,000 public relations contract to help California implement federal health care reform: Sacramento's Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide .

Ogilvy was chosen this week by the California Health Benefit Exchange to create a statewide marketing, outreach and education strategy designed to help reduce the number of Californians lacking health insurance.

The state exchange is charged with creating a new insurance marketplace for individuals and small business to buy competitively priced health plans beginning in 2014.

Ogilvy's selection is tentative pending a five-day protest period, ending March 7.

The contract is considered a plum of California state public relations contracts partly because the winner of the initial $900,000 pact, through October 2013, will be in key position to obtain a subsequent contract that could total tens of millions of dollars to launch the exchange.

The PR powerhouse made headlines earlier this year for quitting a $9 million contract with the state's high-speed rail authority.

In a letter to rail officials, Ogilvy said that it was "unable to develop a solid working relationship with your agency, and that impeded the kind of top-notch work we are accustomed to providing our clients."


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