Mon October 8, 2012
WaPo Questions Yarmuth Votes and Family Ties
An analysis by The Washington Post shows U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., has supported a number of bills that benefit the home health care industry, which the three-term Congressman has a $5 million investment in through his brother's business.
The article looks at several members of Congress who have either sponsored or co-sponsored legislation that could personally benefit themselves or a family members's businesses. It goes through financial disclosure forms and other public records, and questions whether more reforms are needed.
Yarmuth’s brother owns Almost Family, a home health care business that provides nursing, rehabilitation and other personal care services. The newspaper reports that Yarmuth, who is a shareholder, did seek an opinion from the ethics committee on whether he could vote on bills relating to the industry when he took office in 2007.
But a trade group representing home health care businesses has lobbied on five bills Yarmuth has co-sponsored.
From The Washington Post:
In office, Yarmuth joined the congressional Home Health Caucus, a group of two dozen lawmakers that promotes the value of in-home health care.
He also has helped co-sponsor a handful of bills of interest to the industry, including the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act. That pending bill would expand the number of health professionals who can refer patients to home health care. And, in May,
Yarmuth co-sponsored a legislative amendment to block across-the-board Medicare cuts to providers, including home health aides. The effort failed.
"None of the bills that Congressman Yarmuth has co-sponsored has or would directly benefit Almost Family or even only private home health-care companies," (communications director Stephen) George said. "His support for each is consistent with his longtime interest in and strong advocacy for health-care reform, as well as the interests of his constituents and the significant health-care industry in Louisville."
This issue has come up before during the Affordable Care Act debate and was brought up by Yarmuth's 2010 congressional opponent as well. He was also questioned about it by Pure Politics' Ryan Alessi two years ago.
Yarmuth, who has served on the House Ethics Committee since 2011, has said publicly he doesn't believe there is a conflict of interest.