Some of the only outside praise has come from the chief executive of Anthem, the country’s second largest insurer.
.. one of the bill’s few high-profile fans may not even support it on the merits. Instead, Anthem appears to be providing political cover to the administration at the same time that company officials are lobbying the administration for a favorable decision on another matter.
.. Anthem’s best remaining hope for the deal is probably to persuade the Trump administration to take a different view of the merger and unblock it.
.. Rather, Swedish lauded a few provisions (which would clearly help Anthem’s bottom line) and offered enough kind words that the White House could claim Anthem supported the bill.
.. More significantly, President Trump and Tom Price, the Health and Human Services secretary, granted Swedish a private meeting this week. At it, Swedish lobbied for changes to the bill that would benefit Anthem
.. Aetna responded with a bold attempt at quid pro quo. It threatened administration officials that it would withdraw from Obamacare insurance markets unless the merger was approved
.. Aetna executives tried to keep their conversations about the threats to phone calls rather than email “to avoid leaving a paper trail,” as a federal judge later found.
Mr. Price’s trading is likely to be a significant issue during his Senate confirmation hearings. Allegations of abusive trading by members of Congress in recent years led to a 2012 law—the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act—that bars members and employees of Congress from using “any nonpublic information derived from the individual’s position…or gained from performance of the individual’s duties, for personal benefit.” The law also requires members to report their trades within 45 days... The health-care industry is Mr. Price’s biggest patron. In 2015 and 2016, he received about $730,000 in campaign donations from health professionals, insurers and drug companies, more than from any other industry.. Aetna and others are set to benefit from certain provisions of the 2010 health law that Mr. Price’s bill would replace... The largest shareholder of Mr. Price’s biggest stock buy, Australia’s Innate Immuno, is Rep. Chris Collins (R., N.Y.), with a 17% stake, according to the company’s website. Mr. Collins, a member of the Trump transition team, also sits on the company’s board... Mr. Collins said in his hometown newspaper, the Buffalo News, that his authorship of legislation wasn’t a conflict of interest, but rather an instance of bringing his business knowledge to the Congress... The closing price on the Australian Exchange on the day Mr. Price made his purchase was A$0.41, and it closed on Thursday at A$0.85. That means that Mr. Price’s holdings have paper gains of between $50,000 and $100,000.