Price's healthcare stocks continue to raise ethical questions
- Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) continues to find himself in the middle of ethical debates, considerations while preparing for his upcoming hearings over his nomination as HHS Secretary.
- Price purchased between $1,001 to $15,000 worth of shares for Zimmer Biomet about a week before introducing legislation which could have financially benefited the medical device maker, CNN reported.
- The news comes after Price agreed to divest shares in more than three dozen healthcare companies if confirmed as HHS Secretary.
Ethical questions continue to surround president-elect Donald Trump's HHS Secretary nomination. Since the announcement, Price's healthcare stock portfolio has seen its share of the limelight as new reports continue to question whether Price used his insider knowledge appropriately.
Since late November, reports found Price traded about $300,000 in healthcare stocks while in Congress working on healthcare legislation. One such legislation, the 21st Century Cures Bill, speeds up the market approval process for drugs and medical devices. A Kaiser Health News report recently found Price received "a sweetheart deal" from Innate Immunotherapies, an Australian biotech company.
The recent legislation in question, the Healthy Impatient Procedures (HIP) Act, would have delayed the implementation of CMS' joint bundled payment program, an effort CMS finalized last month that was recently found to reduce spending by over $5,000 per episode. Price was a well known supporter to delay the program's implementation. Zimmer Biomet, a knee and hip implants manufacturer, was financially affected by the program, according to CNN, and would have welcomed its delay. A Price aide stated the Zimmer Biomet stocks were brokered without his knowledge, CNN added.
While Price's actions were not illegal, his stock portfolio continues to add to his narrative as his HHS hearings draw near. This could have big implications if it ends up delaying his confirmation. Trump has recently stated he wants to replace the ACA quickly after Price is confirmed. If that confirmation drags on (or if the nomination needs to be changed), that could drastically change the ACA repeal-and-replace timeline.
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