Politics

CNN Missed – Or Ignored – Key Facts About Tom Price’s Health Care Stocks

Rep. Tom Price, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice to be his secretary of Health and Human Services may have encountered a little “fake news” by CNN reporters who questioned the ethics of a stock trade he made in the health care field.

CNN charged its “First on CNN” page Monday, “Rep. Tom Price last year purchased shares in a medical device manufacturer days before introducing legislation that would have directly benefited the company.”

CNN also reported, “Less than a week after the transaction, the Georgia Republican congressman introduced the HIP Act, legislation that would have delayed until 2018 a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regulation that industry analysts warned would significantly hurt Zimmer Biomet financially once fully implemented.”

CNN’s article was repeated by such news organizations as Reuters, CBS News, New York Magazine, and Forbes.

However, CNN decided to leave out key facts:

  • Importantly, Price played no role in the decision to purchase the stock, which was executed under a broker-directed account by Morgan Stanley, according to a source with direct knowledge on the issue. The stock purchase was by his brokerage firm during a regular rebalancing of accounts.
  • The congressman — who for two decades was an orthopedic surgeon — also went on record opposing the CMS regulation six months before the stock selection had been made.
  • On Sept. 21, 2015 Price joined 60 Democrats and Republicans who questioned the Obama administration’s new, controversial Medicare reimbursement policy.  In the letter, the group asked Andy Slavitt, the CMS acting administrator, to delay the regulation.
  • Further, Price introduced his legislation before he knew of the stock purchase. He was the chief sponsor of the HIP Act and he introduced it on March 23, 2016, according to House records. But Morgan Stanley did not inform Price of the Zimmer Biomet stock until April 14, according to House financial disclosure forms on the Georgia congressman’s transactions.

How big was the stock transaction that would have allowed Price to clean up?  It was 26 shares, amounting to a little less than $2,700.

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