Investors bid up shares of many Middle Tennessee health care companies Thursday morning after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld subsidies for people using the federal health insurance marketplace. At about 9:30 a.m., almost a half hour after the justices issued their opinion, both HCA Holdings and Community Health Systems were up about 8 percent — both to all-time highs — while fellow hospital operator LifePoint Health was up 5 percent. Other publicly held locals such as behavioral health plays Acadia Healthcare and AAC Holdings were up slightly. You can track all their movements today here.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday said the Federal Trade Commission can proceed with its challenge to a Georgia hospital merger involving an HCA Holdings facility. The FTC had initially lost its case to stop HCA's sale of Palmyra Medical Center but the high court said local bodies aren't excepted from antitrust rules.
Thanks to states-rights principles, state governments are immune from federal antitrust laws. That immunity, however, doesn't necessarily extend to municipalities and other government entities created by the state. Under prior legal precedent, local governing bodies aren't exempt from antitrust scrutiny unless the state has clearly authorized them to engage in anticompetitive conduct.
The governor has appointed replacement judges for the special Supreme Court. Three of the previous judges stepped back from the panel late last month after they were linked to a group that backs the Tennessee Plan.
The new special appointees join two previous appointees to make up a group of highly qualified and diverse legal minds representing the three grand divisions of the state. The governor’s new appointees are:
J. Robert Carter, Jr. is a criminal court judge in Shelby County, elected Judge of Division III in August 2010 after serving as an assistant district attorney general for 26 years before his election. Carter graduated magna cum laude from Christian Brothers College with bachelor’s degrees in English and Humanities. He received his J.D. from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphries School of Law.
James R. Dedrick retired in 2010 from the U.S. Attorney’s Office where he had served since 1993 as the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee. He began his career with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1983 and was a federal prosecutor for drug, corruption, white collar, tax and other felony investigations and trials. He received his Bachelor of Science degree with honors from East Tennessee State University and graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law with honors.
Monica N. Wharton serves as the chief legal counsel for the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, overseeing the risk management and legal affairs department since 2008. Wharton previously worked at the law firm, Glankler Brown PLLC, practicing in the circuit, chancery and federal court systems. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Hampton University, graduating with honors, and she earned her J.D. from William & Mary School of Law.
A Nashville Health Care Council panel this week took a close at the state and future of health care reform. Among its discussion points was how the Supreme Court will this spring address challenges to the law — as well as how that might influence turnout in November's presidential election.
“If the individual mandate is struck down, Republicans would be jubilant,” said Tevi Troy, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. “But it would mobilize the Democratic base to reelect President Obama, in the hopes he could nominate judges who would shift the court’s balance. If the individual mandate is upheld, that could likewise galvanize the GOP base in an effort to elect a Republican president.”
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