What happens to the U.S. healthcare sector after the inauguration of Donald Trump as President in early 2017 remains to be seen. But the likeliest scenarios do not appear to bode well for hospitals.
Whatever changes occur to the Affordable Care Act, it's likely to result in “less coverage, or less generous coverage” in terms of healthcare insurance, Gary Claxton, vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told CNBC.
“If you start with the hospitals, it seems unlikely that as many people will have coverage that is as generous as currently exists. So that means that when they go to the hospitals, they'll have less money to pay with, or less insurance. So it seems unlikely this will be good for hospitals."
Trump has pledged to repeal the ACA and replace it with a yet-to-be-announced plan. Such a move has support from Congressional Republicans, which control both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Another potential damage to hospital reimbursement: Changing Medicaid to a block-grant program for the states. “I think the hospitals are not going to do well, period,” Minda Wilson, a Los Angeles healthcare attorney and author, told CNBC.
That may be reflected by the fact that the stocks of the for-profit hospital chains have all been hit hard since Trump's surprise election on Nov. 8.