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Obamacare Bonanza: How to Profit

Friday, June 26, 2015
Money and Markets
YOUR BEST SOURCE FOR THE UNBIASED MARKET COMMENTARY YOU WON’T GET FROM WALL STREET
You can also access this issue on our website.
Recent Developments = A Health Care Investment Bonanza; Here's How to Profit
Market Roundup
Dow +56.59 to 17,946.95
S&P -0.71 to 2,101.60
NASDAQ -31.68 to 5,080.51
10-YR Yield +0.083 to 2.476%
Gold +$2 to $1,173.80
Oil -$0.11 to $59.59

  By Mike Larson

Love it or hate it, Obamacare got a huge reprieve yesterday when the Supreme Court issued its favorable ruling on subsidies. The program is the uncontested law of the land now — and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

And love it or hate it, the health-care merger wave got a huge boost when the uncertainty created by the Obamacare debate went away. The only thing that might alter its course would be a major political change in the White House and/or Congress during the next election cycle.

I understand that you have strong feelings about the health-care insurance program. We all do – and I’ve addressed some of those in the comments section below.

The Supreme Court saved Obamacare, which will lead to a health-care investment bonanza.

But since this is an investment newsletter, I can’t help but talk about the market implications of those two major developments. In a nutshell, they create a health-care investing bonanza!

Think about it. Several million more Americans have already joined the nation’s insurance rolls, and millions more will follow in the next couple of years. That means more individuals seeing doctors, getting operations, going for medical tests, and taking pharmaceuticals to treat chronic and acute conditions.

Not only that, but Uncle Sam (and by extension, all of us) is now going to be footing the bill for millions more patients at America’s hospitals. Instead of having to write off the cost of treating poorer patients, which they can’t turn away by law, those hospitals will have their bills covered by subsidized insurance. Result: Bad debt costs will keep falling.

“The ruling clears up a massive amount of uncertainty.”

Finally, the ruling clears up a massive amount of uncertainty about future subsidies, enrollment projections, cost forecasts, and more for the insurance industry. That means they can go on their merry way merging with each other, and otherwise expanding their business of providing Obamacare-compliant plans.

For Safe Money subscribers, I anticipated many of these developments. They’ve been invested in two health care/hospital stocks for a while now, and they exploded in value yesterday – one due to rampant merger speculation (which cooled a bit today) and another because of the bad debt/patient implications of the Supreme Court ruling. I also added another Big Pharma play recently that could be one of the next stocks to run.

Whether you’re a subscriber to an investment service or do it all on your own, now’s the time to focus on the health-care sector and do your research. These latest developments tell me we’re on the cusp of a health-care investment bonanza.

So what do you think? Are health-care stocks a great investment here? Or do you believe the Obamacare enthusiasm will fade? What are your thoughts about the Supreme Court decision and the program in general? What do they mean for health care costs in this country? Let me know over at the  Money and Markets website.

Our Readers Speak

Greedy, unscrupulous bankers. The Supreme Court decision on Obamacare. The NeverEnding Greek Story. You came out of the woodwork to discuss these important issues overnight, and for that, I’m thankful.

Reader Jim lamented the Obamacare vote, saying it will only make this country’s health-care cost crisis worse. His take:

“The ACA was written by the insurance companies for the benefit of the insurance companies. Classic crony Capitalism. Wouldn’t you like to have a business where the public was forced to buy your product and have its cost subsidized by the U.S. taxpayer? Free market solutions offer the only possibilities for cost containment. In the current political environment, this will never happen.”

But Reader Susan said she was happy with the outcome, as it will preserve benefits for the less well-off. Her view: “My reaction to all Obamacare subsidies being sustained? A huge, huge sigh of relief! Thank you, SCOTUS, for remembering that behind these laws and debates are men, women (including me), and children (including mine) whose lives are so much better because of the Affordable Care Act.”

Reader Bruce touched on the investment implications, which makes sense given this is an investment newsletter after all. His comments: “With Obamacare (euphemism for socialized medicine) surviving yet another challenge, do you recommend a serious position in our portfolios for healthcare and/or drug company stocks? Doubtless, many investors have shied away because of the uncertainty.”

Great question, Bruce, and I hope my comments in today’s piece help provide some answers. As for the law itself, it has done nothing to hold insurance costs down near as I can tell. If anything, it has made my premiums surge at a larger and larger rate in the last couple of years.

I agree with the principle of helping the less well off and giving them access to decent health care. But if it drives the cost of insurance much higher for everyone, which all evidence suggests it’s doing, it’s clearly not solving the root problem – health care costs too darn much in America!

Meanwhile, Reader Charles offered the following take on the Greek situation: “As if European taxpayers were not taxed to death already, they now support the poor countries. Greece needs bankruptcy. They will never pay back what they owe – stop the pain.

“What the Europeans fear is that Greece will do much better with theirown currency and more will exit the EU. Liquidity will suffer and the other basket cases will see interest rates shoot up.”

On the latest SEC investigation of bankers, Reader Davis said: “Bankers are close to becoming the next group labeled “unAmerican”. That is, over charging and/or selling financial pseudo-products to make profits for themselves at the expense of their clients. On the other hand, this has become so common in America, maybe it is the norm now.”

And on Greece, Davis added: “If Greece fails in paying its debts, getting kicked out of the union and losing access to the euro will only hurt Greece, with little effect on the rest of Europe. And Europe may have done itself a favor in the long run.”

The truth on Greece is that no one really knows what will happen when markets open on Monday if the country is “let go” over the weekend. European policymakers will hope for the best and try to contain the crisis. But they haven’t managed to “solve” the Greek debt situation in the five years they’ve been dealing with it … and that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, you know?

Didn’t get a chance to comment yet? Have any other thoughts on these very important issues? Then here’s the website link where you can weigh in.

Other Developments of the Day

BulletIn a historic ruling for equality, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that gay marriage should be legal in all 50 states. Previously, 36 states had given same-sex couples the right to marry. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the opinion determining marriage was a Constitutional right open to all, saying, “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family…In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”

BulletLast-ditch negotiations over Greece are set for tomorrow in Europe. So what is the country offering its creditors in its final counteroffer? It wants to impose a one-time tax of 12% on all corporate profits over 500,000 euros, slowly raise the retirement age to 67, and raise the amount companies have to pay to the government pension system by 3.9%.

Will that be enough to placate creditors? It doesn’t look likely, especially because there are still major disagreements about pension obligations, VAT taxes, and other key issues. But we should have a final resolution – one way or the other – by Monday.

BulletTerrorists struck France again today, after two attackers stormed an industrial gas factory near Lyon that’s operated by Air Products & Chemicals (APD). They reportedly beheaded someone, waved an ISIS flag, and then crashed their car into a gas canister storage area – setting off an explosion. Separate terrorist attacks targeted a hotel in Tunisia and a mosque in Kuwait. At least 27 were killed in the shooting attack in north Africa, while an unspecified number of worshippers were killed in the Middle East bombing.

BulletEight tourists and a pilot were killed in Alaska yesterday after the plane they were traveling in crashed into a mountainside. The sightseers were doing a shore excursion for cruise line Holland America.

BulletStocks are crashing … in China, that is. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index cratered more than 7% overnight, dragged down by the very same high-flying stocks that led a previous advance. The average is now down 19% from its early-June high, while equity volatility has surged to its highest level since 2009 in China. Obviously, that chaos hasn’t spilled over into more advanced markets – but the crazy activity of late bears watching.

Any thoughts on the latest terrorist attack? What to expect out of Greece this weekend? Other stories I might not have touched on? Let me hear ‘em over at the website.

Until next time,

Mike Larson

  

Mike Larson
Mike Larson graduated from Boston University with a B.S. degree in Journalism and a B.A. degree in English in 1998, and went to work for Bankrate.com. There, he learned the mortgage and interest rates markets inside and out. Mike then joined Weiss Research in 2001. He is the editor of Safe Money Report. He is often quoted by the Washington Post, Reuters, Dow Jones Newswires, Orlando Sentinel, Palm Beach Post and Sun-Sentinel, and he has appeared on CNN, Bloomberg Television and CNBC.
The investment strategy and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of any other editor at Weiss Research or the company as a whole.

For more information and archived issues, visit www.moneyandmarkets.com.

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