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    PAC Watch: United Health Services on spending spree?

     

    nathandeal2United Health Services, a Toccoa-based nursing-home chain, has shelled out $73,000 in political contributions to Georgia politicians so far this year. That was by far the largest total to surface on the first day of campaign finance reporting for 2009.

    Who’s their fave? U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal (right).

    United Health Services, which operates nursing homes and hospices in several states, reported making its biggest donation — $15,000 — to Deal’s bid for governor.

    Other beneficiaries of UHS campaign cash included House Speaker Glenn Richardson; Speaker Pro Tem Mark Burkhalter and the five other members of the House leadership; Appropriations chairman Ben Harbin and vice chairman Mickey Channell; Rules chairman Earl Ehrhart; and Health and Human Services Chairman Sharon Cooper. Each received $2,300.

    House minority leader DuBose Porter got a measly $500.

    In the Senate, UHS gave $2,300 each to President pro tem Tommie Williams, majority leader Chip Rogers, GOP caucus chair Dan Moody and majority whip Mitch Seabaugh. Committee chairmen Jack Hill (Appropriations), Don Balfour (Rules) and Don Thomas (Health and Human Services) also collected.

    Senate minority leader Robert Brown got nada.

    Most of the checks went out Jan. 2-8, shortly before the Georgia Legislature opened its 2009 session. (Legislators are not allowed to accept campaign contributions during the session.)

    As a rule, nursing homes are keenly interested in Medicaid reimbursement rates that provide most of their revenue. Those rates are set by the state, not the federal government.

    (PACwatch will be monitoring campaign finance reports filed by political action committees in Georgia.)

     

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