Gov. Nixon: Contracts for Sale or Rent
Missouri awards $1.1 billion contract to insurance industry donor Centene following campaign contributions.
An insurance company without a license to operate an HMO in Missouri was recently awarded a contract from the Nixon administration. The deal, totaling $1.1 billion, blocks similar firms from competing to provide healthcare to nearly 450,000 of Missouri’s poor.
It is being accused that the contract award followed $66,500 in campaign contributions from Centene and its CEO (Michael Neidorff) directly to Nixon’s re-election campaign. Since 2006, more than $400,000 has been contributed from the Clayton-based company to a handful of Missouri politicians. See their profile on Open Secrets here. And apparently Pay to Play is actually a game the company plans to win.
The state’s purchasing agency, headed by longtime Nixon lieutenant Doug Nelson, helped create the opportunity for Centene to compete in the market. However, the company does not have the appropriate license to operate in Missouri and has no network of healthcare providers to treat those in Missouri’s Medicaid delivery program, MO HealthNet. In fact, Centene currently has no Medicaid business of any form in the state.
Republican Dave Spence, the leading candidate to take on Nixon in November, recently attacked the governor for selling vetoes to a toxic mix of trial lawyers and unions, stopping what the Missouri Chamber called the two most important things the legislature could do to improve the state’s job environment.
Doctors from around the state have questioned the governor’s actions, including Jefferson City Medical Group (JCMG), which sent a letter to the state, asking for the contract to be reconsidered.
Molina Healthcare of Missouri has asked Nixon’s Office of Administration to reconsider its decision. More than 80,000 Missourians are currently enrolled in Molina’s healthcare plan with 13,000 providers and 25,000 locations established over 16 years of work in Missouri. Centene will replace the company in providing these services without an existing network.
Last year, the Nixon administration was finally forced to end a contract with Centene subsidiary, SynCare, an out-of-state vendor that failed to assess the healthcare needs of Medicaid recipients. The debacle forced some seniors to miss delivery of needed healthcare.
Pay to Play, Mr. Governor?
Update: Thanks to The Right Sphere for coverage.
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