On the same day the stockbroker for then-Georgia Congressman Tom Price bought him up to $90,000 of stock in six pharmaceutical companies last year, Price arranged to call a top U.S. health official, seeking to scuttle a controversial rule that could have hurt the firms' profits and driven down their share prices, records obtained by ProPublica show.
Oh my.At issue in this case was a rule, pushed by the Obama administration, called the Medicare Part B Drug Payment Model. In a nutshell, Obama's White House believed the health care system created incentives for physicians to prescribe high-priced medicines that don't necessarily produce better outcomes. The rule was controversial, and Price wasn't the only member of Congress to balk.Price, however, appears to have taken steps his former colleagues did not. ProPublica's research found that on March 17, Price's broker purchased shares of Eli Lilly, Amgen, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, McKesson, Pfizer, and Biogen -- six of the nation's largest pharmaceutical companies. The same day, Price's office reached out to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, to argue against the rule that would undermine the profits of the companies he'd just invested in.Under normal political circumstances, Price would be in enormous trouble right now, to the point of cameras waiting outside his home, asking if he's worried about being indicted. But with unrelated scandals already surrounding the White House, the HHS Secretary isn't feeling the heat -- yet.