Georgia Representative Tom Price is a wealthy man. A successful orthopedic surgeon in Atlanta before his tenure in the U.S. House, Price amassed a net worth of millions in private practice before entering public service. Since then, he’s managed his wealth via investments in a diverse portfolio. His net worth places him somewhere comfortably in Congress’s upper tier of wealth.
That net worth and just how Price maintains it have become the subjects of scrutiny this week after a CNN report found that Price—a member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health and a leading author of health-policy legislation—disclosed a number of investments in pharmaceutical and medical-products companies that lobbied for rules that Price endorsed or introduced. Democrats claim that Price’s holdings and actions while in Congress could violate federal law, but even if they don’t, they also could bring conflicts of interest if he is confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Those potential conflicts were one of the central sources of partisan tension in his confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
The extent of potential conflicts for Price is unclear; they are the subject of ongoing investigations. According to reports from CNN last week, Price purchased between $1,000 and $15,000 in stock in leading medical-device company Zimmer Biomet in May 2016, just two weeks before introducing a law that would have delayed Medicare value-based purchasing rules that might decrease payments to companies like Zimmer Biomet. Later that year Zimmer Biomet’s political action committee donated $1,000 to Price. Further reports indicate that Price also invested as much as $90,000 in 2016 in the pharmaceutical companies Eli Lilly, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Amgen, McKesson, Biogen, and Pfizer, and co-sponsored a bill that these companies lobbied for that would have blocked a proposed change in Medicare reimbursement rates that would have specifically impacted them. None of these purchases came via mutual funds, which means his broker decided—at Price’s general direction—to purchase these specific stocks based on information she had about their financial futures.