Republican congressmen are investing in health care stock for some reason
As the GOP pushes forward in its attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, Representative Mike Conaway and Senator James Inhofe are making sure they don’t miss out on the financial opportunity. Both Republican congressmen recently purchased tens of thousands of dollars worth of stock in UnitedHealth, one of the private insurance providers that stands to benefit from Washington wiping out regulations that help poor and sick individuals afford coverage.
The Intercept’s Lee Fang has the report:
An account owned by Conaway’s wife made two purchases of UnitedHealth stock, worth as much as $30,000, on March 24th, the day the legislation advanced in the House Rules Committee, according to disclosures. The exact value of Conaway’s investment isn’t clear, given that congressional ethics forms only show a range of amounts, and Conaway’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
… He wasn’t the only one. As the health care system overhaul advanced last month on the other side of Capitol Hill, Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma purchased between $50,000 to $100,000 in UnitedHealth stock. Inhofe, a staunch supporter for GOP efforts to rollback the Affordable Care Act, did not respond to a request for comment.
It’s not the first time Conaway has scooped up shares in companies on the verge of benefitting from pending Republican legislation. The House GOP deputy whip was one of four congressmen to join Tom Price in investing in obscure pharmaceutical manufacturer Innate Immunotherapeutics in January amid Price’s confirmation hearing to become Health and Human Services Secretary. Conaway’s wife also purchased stock in a nuclear firm days after Conaway sponsored legislation addressing nuclear waste storage in a way that would enrich the company.
According to Politico, 384 members of Congress made no stock trades over the past two years, but the rest are swimming in these types of conflicts of interest. The good news is Congress passed the STOCK Act in 2012 to prevent insider trading, although the House has blocked attempts by the Securities and Exchange Commission to enforce the law.
UnitedHealth, the country’s largest health insurer, announced in April that it would withdraw from “most” state Obamacare exchanges by the end of 2017.