Sen. Chuck Grassley wants to know if someone at a federal agency spilled the beans on Monday’s decision not to cut Medicare Advantage rates before they were authorized to do so, citing its potential impact on certain stock shares that soared when the news hit.
Mr. Grassley, Iowa Republican, asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for a timeline and details of any communications about the decision to replace a proposed 2.2 percent cut with a 3.3 percent increase to rates for the program that allows seniors to obtain expanded coverage from private insurers.
He cited a report in the Wall Street Journal that said a firm named Height Securities issued an advisory about a deal to stave off a rate cut on Monday afternoon — but before CMS’ decision became public.
In his letter to acting CMS DIrector Marilyn Tavenner, Mr. Grassley said stocks for companies like Human rose after the advisory went out.
Mr. Grassley said this is the second time in two years he has been forced to ask the agency if one or more of its employees misused their “political intelligence” to alert others about the policy decision.
“This [incident] raises questions regarding political intelligence brokers’ ability to gather information from CMS in order to predict market moving events,” Mr. Grassley said.