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Campaign cash follows Kemp veto of oversight bill

Centene, a Medicaid administrator, sent $84,000 after the veto.

ATLANTA — Governor Brian Kemp’s campaign has loaded up on money given by a company under state scrutiny for Medicaid overbilling. And Kemp vetoed a bill that would have added state oversight for such companies.  

Georgia law allows politicians to take campaign money from folks who do business with the state. So Kemp’s campaign is well within state law to have taken over $80,000 from contributors linked to a state medical contractor.

Georgia does millions of dollars worth of business with a medical provider, Centene, which helps the state administer its Medicaid program. Kaiser Health News and the AJC have reported that Centene has paid almost a half billion dollars nationwide for pharmacy overbilling.

"(HB) 991will bring true transparency and oversight," the bill sponsor, state Rep. Matt Hatchett (R-Dublin), told a House committee in February 2020.

Later that spring, the general assembly overwhelmingly passed HB 991, which would have set up an oversight commission for medical contractors like Centene with support from medical and pharmaceutical lobbyists.

But weeks after the bill passed the House and Senate with only one dissenting vote, Gov Kemp vetoed it – saying the oversight commission “could violate the separation of powers” between the legislative and executive branches of state government.

After Kemp vetoed the bill, state records show Centene, and many of its top employees contributed more than $84,650 to Kemp’s re-election campaign and political action committees.

The same records show that Centene and its top employees have been generous contributors to both parties' state officials and Georgia lawmakers for many years.  

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