Commentary: stock prices climb as companies target changes in Affordable Health Care Act
by Wendell Potter
The Center for Public Integrity, Nov. 10, 2014
Republicans weren’t the only big winners in last Tuesday’s election. So were health insurance companies, many of which spent heavily to influence the outcome.
There are several provisions of the Affordable Care Act that the insurance industry would like the next Congress to change. If insurers get what they want — and with the GOP in control of both houses of Congress, it’s a decent bet they will — Wall Street will be exuberant indeed.
Just the anticipation of what a Republican controlled Congress might be able to pull off has put insurance company shareholders in good humor. Within 24 hours of knowing that Mitch McConnell would replace Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader, investors were active buyers of health insurance stock. In fact, the share prices of five of the six largest for-profit health insurers — Cigna, Health Net, Humana, UnitedHealthcare and WellPoint/Anthem — reached their highest points in a year last Wednesday. Some even reached historic highs. Aetna was the only one that fell short of reaching a 52-week high, but only by pocket change.