George said Yarmuth has met occasionally with Kentucky-based home care providers, but the congressman does not discuss legislation with his brother and has had little contact with the representatives from home health trade groups or lobbyists.
Yarmuth joined the Home Health Caucus as a "symbolic way to show support for the industry," George said. He said Yarmuth signed a caucus letter opposing further cuts in Medicare to home health but described his role otherwise as "almost entirely aesthetic."
In some cases, Yarmuth's legislative actions have run counter to the home health-care industry's broader interests, George noted. One of Yarmuth's most significant legislative actions was to help draft and pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The law overhauling health care hit the home-care industry hard with reduced reimbursement rates and new rules.
In a congressional hearing last year on the new law, Yarmuth quizzed an official from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services about its fiscal impact on health-care providers.
"I have a vested interest in this. I admit, my brother runs a home health-care company. I am a stockholder. I have to make that clear," Yarmuth said. "But back in the late 1990s, there was a severe drop in the reimbursement to home health-care companies. About half the companies in the country went out of business."
When Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., was elected to Congress in 2010, he and his wife owned shares in two privately held natural gas companies, Phillips Resources Inc. and TWP Inc. They were founded by his wife's great-great-grandfather. When Kelly filed his candidate papers, he listed his shares at a relatively modest level — between $2,000 and $30,000. His wife's shares were valued at between $1.5 million and $6 million.