More than a third of Congressional members held significant health care assets

Due to their role in shaping health care policy, lawmakers should divest from assets while in office, Penn Medicine researchers recommend.

Revelations that some members of Congress, including members of key health care committees, hold substantial personal investments in the health care industry have raised concerns about lawmakers’ financial conflicts of interest and their potential impact on health care legislation and oversight. Now, a new study shows that more than a third of all members of Congress held health care-related assets with a median total value per member of greater than $43,000 between 2004 and 2014.

U.S. Capitol building with American flag

Using personal financial disclosures for members of the House and Senate over that 10-year period, researchers found that while members of health care-focused committees and subcommittees in the House and Senate held health care-related assets at the same rate as other members of Congress, multiple members of these committees and subcommittees held hundreds of thousands of dollars of health care-related assets during their committee service.

“All members of Congress have the opportunity to vote on health care policy that impacts the lives of all Americans,” said lead author Matthew McCoy, an assistant professor of medical ethics and health policy in the Perelman School of Medicine. “We should hold members of Congress to a higher standard and expect that they divest from assets in industries directly affected by their committee work to preserve the integrity of their policy-making.”

This story is by Kelsey Odorczyk. Read more at Penn Medicine News.