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Trading and Legislating

Representative Tom Price (R-Ga.), President-elect Donald Trump's pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, traded more than $300,000 in shares of medical companies while considering legislation that could affect stock prices, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Since 2012, Price has bought and sold stock in 40 healthcare, pharmaceutical, and biomedical companies, according to the Journal's analysis. These trades included companies like Aetna, Amgen, Bristol Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, and Pfizer. At the same time, the Journal notes that Price sponsored nine and co-sponsored 35 health-related bills.

Earlier this year, Price purchased Aetna stock that increased his holdings by $15,000, the Wall Street Journal reports. Shortly thereafter, it says he introduced the Empowering Patients First Act to replace the Affordable Care Act. The Journal notes that Price's bill would have provided people without employer-sponsored or government health plans with refundable credits to buy insurance, including from Aetna. Health insurance companies, the Journal notes, also benefitted from provisions of the ACA.

In a statement, Phil Blando, a spokesperson for Price and the Trump transition team, says that "Price takes his obligation to uphold the public trust very seriously," and that he has "complied fully with all applicable laws and ethics rules governing his personal finances" and would comply with the law, if confirmed.

Federal law would require Price, if confirmed to lead HHS, to sell stock in companies the department regulates or to recuse himself from matters involving them, the Journal notes.