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HELENA — State Auditor Monica Lindeen's office is now managing three federal grants to implement health care reform, worth $2.15 million  — equal to more than 10 percent of her office's entire annual budget.

Lindeen, the state's insurance commissioner, has hired Christa McClure, formerly the executive director of Housing Montana in Billings, as manager of the three grants, on a one-year contract with a $98,000 salary.

McClure is responsible for managing a broad range of contracts and making sure they get delivered on time, office spokeswoman Jackie Boyle said.

The grants include $1 million for laying the groundwork for creation of a health-insurance exchange, which is an electronic marketplace where consumers can shop for insurance; $1 million for compiling and reviewing health-insurance rate data; and $120,000 to $150,000 to set up a consumer ombudsman and outreach program.

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Work under the grants must be completed by October of next year.

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