Health Stocks Up As Senate Releases Plan

Multiple news outlets reported gains on hospital stock prices Thursday as details of the closely held proposal to replace Obamacare were made public.

The healthcare sector was up 1.2 % today and 4% for the week, Reuters reported. Modern Healthcare reported that as of 12:30 p.m. EDT, shares in HCA, the nation’s largest investor-owned hospital chain, were up 4% to $87.16. Universal Health Services and LifePoint Health each were up about 3% while Tenet Healthcare Corp. shares were up 9%, or $1.52, to $19.20 on the day. Community Health Systems’ shares had risen 8% to $9.58.

Health insurers also saw their stocks advance on the news. At 12:30 p.m., Centene’s share were up 4%, Humana’s 2% and Anthem’s 1%. Pharmaceutical stocks also were generally higher with a gain today of about 1.1%.

Despite deep proposed cuts to Medicaid, the Senate bill was generally well received by analysts who expressed relief that efforts to reign in drug prices would not be as harsh as anticipated.

“We see the draft version of the Senate bill as better than expected and driving out-performance particularly in our facilities coverage and also for our managed care names,” Leerink analyst Ana Gupte said in a research note reported by Reuters.