November 09, 2023

Senator Warren Seeks Answers from Clover Health Following Disclosure of $200,000 Stock Award for Medicare and Social Security Public Trustee Nominee

Nominee for Public Trustee of Medicare and Social Security Currently Serves on Board of For-Profit Private Health Insurer Selling Medicare Advantage Plans, Has Refused to Resign if Confirmed

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington, D.C. — United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Clover Health CEO Andrew Toy, seeking information on equity payments received this year by Mr. Demetrios Kouzoukas, who is currently serving on the Board of Directors of Clover Health. Mr. Kouzoukas was nominated in January to serve as a Public Trustee on the Boards of Trustees that oversee the Social Security and Medicare trust funds.

Ahead of Mr. Kouzoukas’s confirmation vote last week, he submitted new information to Senator Warren that raised additional concerns about his financial conflicts of interest, including previously undisclosed financial information indicating that Mr. Kouzoukas received roughly $200,000 worth of restricted stock from Clover Health this year – nearly ten times as much as he received in 2021 or 2022.

“Mr. Kouzoukas also indicated that these shares will vest in 2024, one year after the date they were granted, at the same time that Mr. Kouzoukas would be serving as a Public Trustee if confirmed,” wrote Senator Warren. “This equity payment for 2023 is roughly 10 times higher than the payment that Mr. Kouzoukas received for his board service in 2021 (25,608 restricted stock units) or in 2022 (20,271 restricted stock units).” 

Senator Warren also raised concerns that the stock was awarded to Mr. Kouzoukas after he and Clover Health officials became aware that he would be nominated to the Boards of Trustees. The Senator first raised concerns about Mr. Kouzoukas’s conflicts of interests at his nomination hearing in September, where she pressed Mr. Kouzoukas about the ethics conflicts arising from his position on the Board of Directors of Clover Health and asked that he resign his position on the Board if confirmed. To this date, Mr. Kouzoukas has not committed to resigning.

To better understand the nature of these equity payments, Senator Warren is asking Clover Health to answer a series of questions about Mr. Kouzoukas’s compensation no later than November 14, 2023.

Senator Warren has long advocated for strong ethics standards for public officials, including ending financial conflicts of interest and protecting vital health care programs for seniors and people with disabilities:

  • On November 2, 2023, Senator Warren sent a letter to Demetrios Kouzoukas raising concerns about Mr. Kouzoukas’s financial conflicts of interest following disturbing new revelations, and reiterating her request that he commit to leave his Board of Directors role at Clover Health or withdraw his nomination.
  • On September 28, Senator Warren sent a letter to Mr. Kouzoukas ahead of his nomination hearing, raising concerns that Mr. Kouzoukas’s role on the Board of Directors for Clover Health would create personal and financial pressures to downplay the fiscal threat that Medicare Advantage poses to the financial health of the Medicare Trust Funds, and potentially to recommend changes to the management of the trust funds that would further entrench the program’s hold over Medicare, thereby perverting the impartial nature of the position. 
  • On September 28, 2023, at a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Warren questioned Kouzoukas about financial conflicts of interest arising from his position on the Board of Directors of Clover Health, a private health insurer that derives a significant portion of its revenue from Medicare Advantage.
  • On September 28, 2023, Senator Warren secured unprecedented ethics commitments from Marjorie Rollinson, President Biden’s nominee for Chief Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service and an Assistant General Counsel in the Department of the Treasury.
  • On August 29, 2023, Senator Warren announced that she had secured historic ethics commitments from Dr. Monica Bertagnolli, President Biden’s nominee for director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to halt the revolving door between former federal employees and giant pharmaceutical companies.
  • In July 2023, at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Warren secured ethics commitments from General Charles Q. Brown, Jr., President Biden’s nominee to be the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. When asked if he would agree not to become a defense industry lobbyist or receive compensation from a defense contractor for four years, General Brown said he did not “intend to pursue opportunities in the defense sector or a lobbyist upon retirement from military service.”
  • In June 2023, Senator Warren announced that she secured another historic ethics commitment from Federal Reserve Board nominee Dr. Adrianna Kugler, the same one that she previously secured from Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr, Dr. Lisa Jefferson, and Dr. Phillip Cook. These nominees’ ethics commitments – to a four year recusal period from matters which they oversee on the Board of Governors, not to seek a waiver from these recusals, and not to seek employment or compensation from financial services companies for four year after leaving government service – are the strongest ethics standards in the history of the Fed.
  • On March 22, 2023, at a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Warren defended the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’s (CMS) proposed adjustments to the Calendar Year 2024 Medicare Advantage (MA) payment rates, pushing back against giant insurance companies and their lobbyists who are peddling misinformation to protect their billions in profits and scare beneficiaries into opposing the rule. 
  • On February 2, 2022, during a hearing of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Growth, Senator Warren questioned witnesses about how corporate profiteering in the pharmaceutical, insurance, and financial industries is contributing to excessive costs for Medicare. 
  • In January 2022, Senator Warren secured a commitment from then-FDA Commissioner nominee Dr. Robert Califf to recuse himself from matters involving his former employers and clients for four years, two years longer than what is required in the Biden administration’s Ethics Pledge.