Many Members of Congress Own Investments in Health Industry

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

As Congress takes up the issue of health care reform, the financial interests of the industry are well represented on Capitol Hill, and not just through the employment of hundreds of lobbyists. Many lawmakers have investments in insurance, pharmaceutical and prescription-benefit companies and in hospital interests, according to the New York Times after it sifted through hundreds of disclosure forms filed last week.

For instance, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has interests in a stock index fund for the health care sector of more than $50,000 and up to $100,000. Congressman Dave Camp of Michigan, the senior Republican on the House Committee on Ways and Means, one of three panels that will help shape health care reform, reported at least tens of thousands of dollars in health-related interests, including medical technology giant Medtronic, drug maker Wyeth and insurance company Aetna. The wife of Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Jackie Clegg Dodd, is a member of the board of directors of four health-related companies, including Cardiome Pharma and Javelin Pharmaceuticals. Sen. Dodd is a leading member of the Senate Health Committee
Not all key participants in the debate have potential conflicts of interest. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the committee, have no major holdings in health-related businesses; the two men are working together on a bipartisan plan to reform the health care system. And Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), chairman of the Senate Health Committee, has much of his wealth in blind trusts.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Many in Congress Hold Stakes in Health Industry (by Jackie Calmes, New York Times)


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