Grassley calls on CMS head to stop 'political intelligence' market trading

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Grassley said CMS has a poor record of communicating non-public information regarding policy decisions affecting Medicare and Medicaid, which results in political intelligence trading in the stock market. Grassley pointed to an example where healthcare company Humana’s stock rose by more than 8 percent after the agency's decision on Medicare Advantage payments. Grassley said that because there isn’t enough oversight, it’s possible that CMS staff leaked information that allowed investment brokers to make money from the policy decision.

“I hope she comes prepared to answer questions,” Grassley said on the Senate floor Monday. “This is an opportunity for her to show us that she’s worthy of confirmation.”

Grassley said that Travenner would need to answer questions on the political intelligence trading matter “because in this town if heads don’t roll nothing changes.”

Grassley, who serves on the Senate Finance Committee, said that CMS controls more than $700 billion of annual government spending, meaning its policy decisions have a large effect on U.S. markets.