Centene uses affiliates to amplify political donations, report says

Centene has donated to political candidates in states where it is vying for Medicaid contract selection or defending against overcharging charges, sometimes through multiple affiliates, according to a Kaiser Health News report published on 4 November.

Centene has amplified donations by giving through multiple affiliates to the Governors of Nevada, South Carolina and New York, KHN reported. Company law allows each subsidiary to give as its own company.

In Nevada, Centene subsidiaries in Ohio, Georgia and Louisiana were among plans that donated to incumbent Gov. Steve Sisolak’s campaign.

SilverSummit, a subsidiary of Centene, manages Medicaid contracts in Nevada. Mr. Sisolak approved a new public health option plan in 2021 open to tenders from contractors like SilverSummit.

In the months following the donation, Centene settled with the state for $11.3 million to resolve allegations that it overcharged the state’s Medicaid program. Centene has paid similar settlements in at least 13 states.

In a statement to KHNa representative for Mr. Sisolak said there was “no correlation” between how the governor legislates and Centene’s donations.

The St. Louis-based payer was also caught amid Georgia’s midterm elections, donating to the incumbent governor and attorney general. Centene is settling overcharge allegations in Georgia, KHN reported in October.

Since 2015, Centene has donated at least $26.9 million to politicians in 33 states, political parties and nonprofit fundraising groups, according to a KHN analysis of public records.

In a statement at the point of sale, a spokesperson for Centene said the company complies with all federal, state and local laws and records all political contributions.

Read the full report here.