Rather than selling his business or transferring ownership to someone outside of his circle, Tom Price, now Health Secretary, chose to transfer his medical business to someone who is both an immediate family member and in the state legislature. Betty Price (R-Roswell), Tom Price’s wife, sits on the Health and Human Services committee. Because that committee is in charge of addressing the legal areas surrounding medical professionals as well as medicinal provisions, there is a high probability that Betty Price will end up making policy decisions that directly benefit her/their company.
Also, since the start of the year, Betty Price has received almost $10,000 in donations, including almost $3,000 from a healthcare company based in New York, despite the fact that she won’t face reelection for two years. It appears that businesses in the medical industry are trying to show their support for Trump and Tom Price through Betty’s campaign.
But this should all be expected be now. After all, pay-for-play politics and cronyism have become the norm for conservative lawmakers at the state and federal levels. Some of the many examples here in Georgia include the big businesses that would’ve benefitted from Deal’s first takeover plan (and surely will if school takeover 2.0 passes), Deal’s appointment of Tricia Pridemore to the state ethics commission, and Deal’s appointment of Chris Carr as attorney general.
Prince, himself, can go hardly a few months between ethical lapses. Last year, Price bought between $1,001 and $15,000 worth of shares of Zimmer Bionet, a hip and knee replacement manufacturer that was about to be negatively affected by a Medicare and Medicaid Services Regulation. Days after the purchase, Price introduced the HIP act, legislation that would’ve delayed the regulation until 2018 and helped his stock pick.
In 2015, Price added a bunch of provisions to his anti-ACA act that would protect doctors from medical malpractice. For example, Section 401, introduces new federal “best practice” guidelines written by medical societies, designed to give physicians extra protections from malpractice lawsuits. Section 402 and 403 also include provisions that would make it harder to bring malpractice disputes and would help physicians avoid bankruptcy if they were found guilty of malpractice.
It appears that Tom Price is completely incapable of doing anything that doesn’t benefit himself or his inner circle of political friends. Is that the type of person that should be responsible for the health care of the entire country?
Americans and Georgians deserve better public servants. We deserve people who won’t use public office as a way to line their own pockets. Though with a new president and a governor that both lack transparency and are consistently embroiled in ethical controversy, voters have to remain more vigilant than ever.