WASHINGTON -- President Trump's nominee to be the nation's top health official introduced legislation last May that benefited a health company he had recently invested in.The $15,000 purchase of shares in McKesson is but the latest financial action raising questions about possible conflicts of interest during the confirmation battle over Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga. The orthopedic surgeon was confirmed by the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday and his nomination will soon be voted on by the full Senate.
Price introduced the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment Act on May 12, a week after McKesson warned in its annual report to stockholders that its profits and those of its clients were at risk because of cuts faced in Medicare payments. Price's stockbroker informed him of the purchase in early April, according to a report Price submitted to the House.Price's bill reversed cuts in reimbursement to makers of home medical beds and other equipment. McKesson, which bills itself as the oldest and largest health care company in the world, distributes drugs, medical supplies and equipment including beds and lifts for homes.
Price's nomination was already being opposed by several Democratic senators over other health care company investments, and at least two members of Congress have asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate. Democratic members of the finance panel boycotted Wednesday's vote in part to protest Trump's immigration order last weekend.Since 2012, Price has traded shares worth more than $300,000 in about 40 health-related companies, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis. At the same time, Price was on the House Ways and Means Committee’s subcommittee on health working on measures that could affect his investments.