While the Supreme Court's decision in King v. Burwell is still a long way off, the stock market's reaction to the start of oral arguments Wednesday indicates that many see hope for the survival of federal health insurance subsidies.
If there is anxiety over how the U.S. Supreme Court will rule in King v. Burwell, it appears that there are few concerns about how the decision will impact the hospital sector. The stocks of publicly traded hospital systems rose significantly after Wednesday's oral arguments, according to MarketWatch.
Hospital mergers and acquisitions last year fell overall, but the number of beds involved increased dramatically. There were 84 acquisitions in 2013, down 21.5 percent from 2012, according to data from the Connecticut-based Irving Levin & Associates. However, the number of beds involved was the highest since 2008.
As many hospitals across the country struggle to keep their doors open and cut back on services, some publicly traded hospitals say the Affordable Care Act helped them increase their bottom lines, according to a Nashville Business Journal blog post.
In recent years rating agencies projected negative outlooks for hospitals due to the lingering fallout from the Great Recession and the large number of uninsured patients treated at hospitals. But looks like that is about to change, at least in regards to for-profit hospitlas.
A North Carolina hospital operated by Health Management Associates, already under fire for allegedly overbilling the Medicare program, recently charged a patient $89,000 for an emergency room visit to treat a snakebite, the C harlotte Observer reported.
Community Health Systems agreed this week to buy Health Management Associates for an estimated $3.6 billion in cash and stock, the New York Times reported.
Declining admissions that hurt hospital revenue still plague Community Health Systems and other hospital operators, Bloomberg reported.
First-quarter earnings for two major healthcare systems fell compared with 2012 numbers, but the numbers were skewed by large financial settlements from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services paid in the first quarter of 2012 to cover years of underpayments.
Stocks of for-profit hospital chains enjoyed healthy gains in the minutes after the high court's ruling. HCA, which owns and operates 163 hospitals in 20 states, was up 11 percent in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.