Politics

John Roberts’ vote may have hurt his investments

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor
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The Center for Responsive Politics revealed Monday that Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts held investments in a medical supply company in 2011.

According to his financial disclosure form for 2011, Roberts reported holding $15,000 or less in Hill-Rom Holdings — a medical supply company.

It’s unclear how Roberts or Hill-Rom would benefit from the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the Affordable Care Act, but it won’t necessarily help business.

The company makes hospital beds and other medical supplies, which may be affected by the 2.3 percent sales tax imposed on medical devices under the Affordable Care Act.

In fact, the Wall Street Journal reports that Hill-Rom Holdings has already attributed planned layoffs to the new tax. In March, it was reported that the company planned to lay off 200 workers — three percent of its workforce — because of the taxation on medical devices.

Some major medical device manufacturers have expressed serious concerns over this. According to the WSJ, Medtronic, Inc., the nation’s largest medical device manufacturer, said the tax will cost the company as much as $150 million in 2013, and Stryker Corp., a medical technology company, said it could cost them $130 to $150 million next year and could consume one-third of their research and development budget.

The WSJ further noted that, “Unlike other health-care sectors, analysts don’t expect device makers to benefit much from the expected flood of newly insured patients because they depend largely on older patients who are already covered by Medicare.”

Even though Hill-Rom’s stock went up slightly from 29.65 on June 28 to 31.56 on July 10 after the Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act, it’s still below its March 21, 2012 high of 35.96.

It’s unknown if Roberts still has holdings in Hill-Rom as the financial disclosure was for 2011 — not 2012.

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