Veteran hospital analyst Gary Lieberman at Wells Fargo expects that the Supreme Court's ruling Thursday safeguarding health insurance exchange subsidies will be the last major challenge to the Affordable Care Act. As a result, he has upgraded shares of locals HCA Holdings and Community Health Systems as well as Tenet Healthcare — even though they soared Thursday — to 'outperform' from 'market perform.' Notably, he left intact his lower rating on LifePoint Hospitals. Overall, Lieberman says the hospital sector should now have solid long-term profit prospects.
Here's a running list of statements we've received on the Supreme Court upholding the Affordable Care Act today, after the jump.
From TNGOP Chair Ryan Haynes:
“ObamaCare was created, passed, and implemented on a party-line basis. Democrats essentially shoved this down the throats of Americans and it is disheartening to see the Court develop another avenue to keep this hurtful law alive. Individuals and businesses are struggling under this law. Republicans are going to continue offering solutions to actually drive health care costs down and make quality health care accessible once again—which is the exact opposite of what Americans have gotten under this flawed law.”
From Rep. Diane Black:
“Today’s irresponsible Supreme Court decision does not change the fact that Obamacare is a fundamentally broken law that has failed to deliver on its most basic promises,” said Congressman Diane Black. “I am deeply disappointed that the court shirked its duty as a coequal branch of government by not acting to hold this President accountable for following his own laws, but my resolve to erase Obamacare remains stronger than ever. After today, one thing is certain: if this disastrous law is to be stopped, it will require strong leadership from Congress. We as conservatives must redouble our efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. That is what Americans voted for at the ballot box last November and that is what they expect from us today.”
And a sunnier tone, from Rep. Jim Cooper:
U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) today praised the Supreme Court for preserving federal subsidies that help an estimated 6.4 million Americans – including nearly 200,000 Tennesseans – pay for health insurance.
Cooper celebrated the ruling’s implications not only for those with federal subsidies, but also the insurance market and the preservation of benefits in the Affordable Care Act. For instance, health care insurers can no longer deny people for pre-existing conditions, and young adults can stay on a parent’s insurance plan until they turn 26.
Cooper also noted that the ruling removes a stated obstacle for passing Insure Tennessee.
“Tennessee legislators said they were waiting for the ruling,” Cooper said. “We now have it. They should finish the job and provide protection for all Tennesseans by passing Insure Tennessee.”
On Monday, Cooper will join a coalition of state and community leaders for a press conference on what’s next after today’s positive ruling.
From the RNC:
“Today’s ruling makes it clear that if we want to fix our broken healthcare system, then we will need to elect a Republican president with proven ideas and real solutions that will help American families," said Chairman Priebus. "Hillary Clinton supports big government mandates and expanding the government’s reach into our healthcare system, maneuvers that have made our healthcare system worse off. What you will not hear from Democrats today is any information on how to make healthcare more affordable at a time when premiums are getting more expensive.”
From Americans for Prosperity:
"We will not let politics be a distraction in the discussion on healthcare; our focus should be on people" said Andrew Ogles, state director of Americans for Prosperity Tennessee. "Today's decision only adds to the anxiety of Tennesseans who have already been harmed by Obamacare's burdensome mandates and out-of-control costs. Our efforts to encourage Congress to bring state-based and patient-focused reforms to healthcare will not stop."
From TNDP Chair Mary Mancini:
“We are relieved for the nearly 200,000 Tennesseans who will continue to have access to affordable health care. It’s clear that the Supreme Court justices did the right thing in looking at the intent of the law rather than siding with a twisted interpretation of individual phrases.
The Affordable Care Act has saved lives and will continue help build a healthier America. The TNDP will continue to work to ensure every Tennessean has access to affordable health care, especially those in the “insurance gap” left by the Republican failure to pass Insure TN. For Democrats, the fight for strong families and effective government is not over, even with this ruling.”
From Bill Freeman:
"Today we learned that the United States Supreme Court has affirmed the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. It is time now for our legislature to call a special session immediately and pass Insure Tennessee so families that need health care the most can see a doctor. Let's act now. We shouldn't wait. Lives depend on it."
From the House Republican Leadership:
"The Supreme Court's decision is both surprising and disappointing. However, there will be no interruption for Tennesseans who have insurance through the federal exchange and no major disruption to the state's insurance marketplace. The Supreme Court's ruling shows the Affordable Care Act is a federal program, and this gives the U.S. Congress the opportunity to address the significant problems with the law. With Tennessee's TennCare waiver up for renewal next year, I hope HHS will be in a different posture to consider additional flexibility for our state Medicaid program and will consider block grants." — Speaker Beth Harwell (R–Nashville)
"Obviously, I am disappointed with today's Supreme Court ruling. ObamaCare has been a failed law from the start, and it is unfortunate that it has survived another legal challenge. I am hopeful that our elected officials in Washington will take action to repeal this law and replace it with something that will be beneficial for all citizens." — Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R–Chattanooga)
"As the Speaker stated, this decision from the Supreme Court is both surprising and disappointing. Now, more than ever, it is time for us to stand firm and tell Congress that it needs to clean up its own mess. ObamaCare is Washington’s problem and it needs to be repealed by Washington. Here in Tennessee, we will continue our fight against federal government mandates in our personal lives as we look for additional ways to protect our state from this flawed law." — Caucus Chairman Glen Casada (R–Thompson Station)
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.
Wells Fargo analyst Gary Lieberman has downgraded his rating for both Community Health Systems and HCA Holdings to 'market perform' from 'outperform,' saying the companies could be affected by the Supreme Court's decision to hear King v. Burwell, a circuit case related to federal insurance subsidies.
Lieberman's move is notable because analysts' views of hospital stocks have in recent months been overwhelmingly positive based on health reform and Medicaid expansion expectations. Lieberman also cut his CHS price target to $48 from $52 and his HCA target to $64 from $70.
Shares of CHS (Ticker: CYH) fell nearly 4 percent Wednesday to $46.85 and were down another percentage point Thursday. Shares of HCA (Ticker: HCA) dropped about 2 percent to $64.84 Wednesday are were down a little more Thursday.
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