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Financial Sector Reacts To SCOTUS Ruling

More reaction to the SCOTUS ruling via Associated Press, this time from the financial services sector.

NEW YORK (AP) — Citi Investment Research analyst Carl McDonald:

“The decision to uphold the individual mandate was one of the few Supreme Court outcomes that shouldn’t result in much volatility — The decision essentially maintains the status quo. We can argue the stocks might be off a little, since there was hope the court would eliminate some of the negative aspects of health reform, but at the same time, it’s easy enough to argue for the stocks to rise a bit now that we’ve gotten through this significant overhang.

“The macro picture in the second half of 2012 seems to favor the managed care plans — If President Obama is re-elected, it again affirms to us the status quo that is currently reflected in valuations. If Republicans win in November, we would expect the group to rise up to 20 percent in the aftermath given the favorable impact Republicans could have on 2014 earnings. With the election polls basically 50/50 right now, that’s a pretty compelling risk reward scenario for the group.”

Goldman Sachs analyst Matthew Borsch:

“Managed Care: An incremental negative but may imply less uncertainty: We expect selling pressure on managed care given our belief that investors would have seen an overturn of reform as a better outcome for the sector. However, we think any selling pressure will be modest since this ruling is the outcome most investors had anticipated prior to the oral arguments in late March. Moreover, this ruling implies less uncertainty than any other outcome, in our view, and avoids the ‘mandate only’ outcome we believe many investors saw as ‘worst case.’ Meanwhile, this ruling is net positive for Medicaid names (Amerigroup Corp., Centene Corp., Molina Healthcare Inc., WellCare Health Plans Inc.) since Medicaid coverage expansion survives (even though the Court apparently has given states the ability to ‘opt out’ of the expansion). We maintain our ‘Neutral’ coverage view and 2012-2014 EPS, which already reflect current law, for Medicaid and commercial / Medicare.

Hospitals the ‘net winners’ under this outcome: We expect hospital names will trade up on this ruling as it represents their “best case” outcome, in our view, setting up 2014 to be a good year if the coverage expansion is fully implemented on schedule. However, pressures on the outlook from other sources (e.g., responses to the fiscal cliff) remain and uncertainty over the fate of reform will remain high ahead of elections. We maintain our earnings per share (already reflects current law) for our covered hospital names (HCA Holdings Inc., Community Health Systems Inc., and Tenet Healthcare Corp.).”

FBR Capital Markets analyst Benjamin Salisbury:

“On first read, we view this as most positive for hospitals and somewhat positive for pharma and insurers. It is likely to be viewed most negatively for medical device manufacturers and neutral to somewhat negative for rehab, nursing, and home health. This decision was largely unexpected as consensus expected a repeal of the individual mandate. Although that uncertainty has been alleviated, the law will continue to be a focus in the election and potentially Congress next year.”

A group of Jefferies & Co. analysts:

“A status quo Supreme Court decision provides visibility and clarity on the forward operating environment for both providers and payors. This morning’s rally in providers could be limited as investors turn their focus back to weak fundamentals, the upcoming elections and deficit-reduction initiatives. For payors, we expect better earnings performance in the second quarter (due to soft utilization trends) and Medicare Advantage and Medicaid member growth.”

“With Medicaid expansion AND the individual mandate upheld, the outcome of the Supreme Court decision was slightly better than what most investors had expected (i.e. mandate gone). Having the whole law upheld is driving strength in providers as it keeps key beneficial provisions in place (i.e. those that reduce the uninsured), but we believe the rally will be short-lived. While the Supreme Court decision eliminates a key, long-standing overhang on provider stocks, we believe that investor focus will gradually shift over the next few months to other looming issues such as the elections, the doc fix later this year, and a likely deficit reduction/debt ceiling bill in early 2013, so we expect the momentum in the provider group to be relatively short-lived, particularly as investors in the crowded ‘long hospital’ trade begin to take profits.”

Mizuho Securities analyst Michael Matson

“The Supreme Court has upheld the individual mandate and Medicaid expansion. We think this is neutral for med tech stocks. While the medical device excise tax remains, the individual mandate and Medicaid expansion should lead to a decline in the uninsured during 2014-2016 and an increase in med tech procedures that could partially offset the excise tax.”

BMO Capital Markets analyst Dave Shove:

“Managed Care: No New Surprises – The whole group has been preparing for Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act since its passage, which is the good news. The bad news, for some players, is that the small group and individual market will remain a tough sandbox to play in.

Hospitals: More Insurance Coverage – Medicaid expansion was designed to provide more than 15 million people with healthcare coverage by 2016, which would reduce the amount of uncompensated care that flows through hospitals. Now – without a big stick – the expansion after that is unknown. Profitability and cash flow are poised for medium-term improvement – how much improvement is really the question now.

Pharmacy Benefits Managers: Yawn – As the most insulated group from the reform fallout in 2010, the PBMs remain largely unaffected.”

Barclays Capital analyst C. Anthony Butler:

“This ruling came as a surprise to some investors, who in recent days have been expecting the overturning of the individual mandate if not the entire act. We believe that today’s decision has minimal effect on the fundamentals of the U.S. pharmaceutical companies, and there is unlikely to be any long term effect on the valuations of the sector.

The industry has been impacted by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act since its enactment in 2010. In 2011, manufacturers started paying a 50 percent discount to Medicare Part D beneficiaries whose are in the so-called ‘donut hole’ or coverage gap. There were also increased rebates to Medicaid programs. The sector have been paying an industry excise fee — totaling $2.5 billion in 2011 and $2.8 billion in 2012 for the entire sector — which has been recorded as selling, general and administrative expenses. Starting in 2013, those companies with medical device exposure (i.e. Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories) will need to pay a 2.3 percent deductible tax on U.S. medical device sales.

We expect increased health care coverage in the pool of uninsured Americans (around 35 million) starting in 2014, though the actual volume upside may be lower and more modest then some expect.”


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.


Reaction To SCOTUS Ruling

Lots of reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act.

Here is what we’ve got so far.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam:


We will review the entire Supreme Court’s opinion to fully understand its impact on the State of Tennessee. From initial reports, it appears the individual mandate has been ruled Constitutional and has been upheld.


My primary issues with ObamaCare are that it takes away the flexibility for states to encourage healthy behavior, will cost Tennessee hundreds of millions of dollars, and does nothing to solve the crisis of the cost of health care in America.

What was unanticipated is the section of the opinion that says states cannot be forced to expand their Medicaid program. This particular portion of the ruling is significant, but it is premature to know the exact ramifications.


Now it is up to Tennesseans and Americans to turn their attention to the November election. By electing Mitt Romney, we can be sure that the entire law will be repealed.

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen

The Supreme Court today rightfully upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act and now the historic landmark can take its rightful place with Social Security and Medicare as powerful examples of what we can do as a country to help improve the quality of life for all Americans.

After a two-year legal battle that divided the country, the Supreme Court has confirmed that the reforms contained within the Affordable Care Act are constitutional and will continue to provide millions of Americans with the health care they need to live healthy, prosperous lives. This Supreme Court ruling is a victory for the American people and ensures that millions of Americans will have access to quality, affordable health care for generations to come.

U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher


This is exactly what the American people have said they do not want – Washington bureaucrats between them and their doctors. Under Obamacare, a panel of unelected bureaucrats now has the unprecedented authority to make decisions on seniors’ healthcare. Additionally, Obamacare cut over $500 billion from the Medicare program, not to mention up to 20 million Americans could lose their employer-based coverage. It will force American citizens to endure diminished quality of care, increased insurance costs, and excessive taxation brought on by inefficient Washington bureaucracy. This is essentially a tax on human freedoms.”


With unemployment bouncing around 8 percent and the real unemployment rate around 14 percent, the last thing we need right now is more taxes on Americans. This ruling means that this law will take money from you and put it in the hands of Washington.


The enacting of this law is an attack on our personal freedoms and cuts at the core foundation of principles that our country was founded upon. The only way to ensure the future of American’s healthcare is to completely dismantle and repeal Obamacare. From listening to doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals in Tennessee, I know access and affordability are the chief barriers to quality care. Washington needs to get out of the way and let the people choose. We all make decisions for our families everyday and health care should be the most important decision we make.


U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.


The Supreme Court may have failed to declare the entire health-care law unconstitutional, but it is still an historic mistake that expanded a health-care system we already knew we couldn’t afford. Congress should repeal the law and then proceed step by step to reduce the cost of health care so more Americans can afford to buy insurance.


Shelby County Democratic Party chairman Van Turner


The Shelby County Democratic Party applauds the Supreme Court decision upholding the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

The decision is a huge victory for reducing health care costs and increasing access to preventative care that will benefit the millions of Americans who have been living without it for far too long.


Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney:


Getting rid of ObamaCare is now in the hands of the American people, and we can accomplish that by electing Mitt Romney President in November. Today’s Supreme Court decision will increase the determination of Tennessee Republicans to defeat President Obama and put an end to his reckless policies that have failed to address the economy and are only making things worse.


Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey


It is intensely disappointing that this court failed to recognize what constitutionalists and conservatives know deep in their hearts: A federal government which can coerce its people to buy a product is a government unrestrained and out of control. Democrat Governor Phil Bredesen called Obamacare the ‘mother of all unfunded mandates’ and stated it will cost Tennesseans 1.1 billion dollars in the next few years. However, the fight does not end here. The court may have made its decision today but the people have yet to speak. When they do, Mitt Romney will be elected president and I will do all I can to aid him as he fulfills his solemn promise to repeal this insidious law.



State Senate Republican Leader Mark Norris

State’s rights, individual liberties and our ability to defend against governmental infringement of those rights have all been impacted in various ways.


As the State Senator responsible for passing a balanced budget each year, my first order of business is to determine the impact on our health care system and public resources. The Court’s remarkably expansive read on the federal government’s authority to tax is alarming. But the Court also recognized States’ rights to resist a further reach into our pockets. Perhaps next year our efforts to enact the Health Care Compact will finally succeed.


Unless and until Congress repeals the Act, our ability to interpret this complex ruling in such a way as to protect the taxpayer while preserving essential care is of utmost importance.

Bishop J. Terry Steib, Catholic Diocese of Memphis

The Catholic Bishops of the United States have consistently advocated for comprehensive health care reform which provides access to life-affirming health care for all, especially the poorest and the most vulnerable. We have taken no partisan position in the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and our concerns about the viability and application of the Act are public record, especially in the areas of federal funding for abortion, protection of conscience rights, and humane treatment for immigrant workers and their families.

The bishops once again renew their plea to Congress to ensure that healthcare services provided by federal funding are constitutionally sound and free of the defects which threaten human life and religious liberty.

We urge Congress and the Administration to work together toward humane and accessible healthcare for all people.

Bredesen on Obama health care bill

I spoke with former Tenn. Gov. Phil Bredesen in 2010, in the final days of his term, about President’s Obama’s health care bill, which the Supreme Court this morning essentially upheld.

I’ve written about Bredesen’s thoughts on this in the past, but here again is a snippet of what the governor told me:

“It really in my mind is a new feature of the federal-state relationship. In that it’s this kind of negative space issue. You’re compelling behavior by taxing the absence of it. And I can’t think of anyplace significant where that happens otherwise.

Look, if you can do that, and you can justify it as having to do with economic activity in the country and it’s under the Commerce Clause, it’s hard to imagine what – so, fine, I think every kid ought to get a college education, so we’ll tax the parents who don’t send their kinds to college. That may be an absurd example, but it’s not that far off.

I really believe there’s a lot of usefulness and vigor in our federal system where there are things which the federal government does not have its hand in that states do have their hand in. I really think it’s a real issue. Unfortunately for most of my life it’s been expressed in unfortunate terms, in that states‘ rights has been a synonym for segregation for 50 years. And now, with the tea party, they’re raising this issue, but along with lots of other really over-the-top ones.

I think for anybody, whether you’re liberal or conservative, there are real issues about how far you want the federal government to go.”

More on MIFA Layoffs

In Tuesday’s Daily Digest, I reported Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) — the well-known, faith-based nonprofit whose mission is to address the needs of Memphis’ poor — has cut 10 employees from its workforce.

This afternoon, MIFA communications director Jim Seacat commented by e-mail on the layoffs, writing: “The reduction in staff coincides with the start of our new fiscal year on July 1 . The reduction is influenced by the loss of funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that started October 1, 2009, and will end June 30, 2012, resulting in a decrease of about $1.6 million in grant revenue. The reduction involves staff in our family and children’s program.”

House where Steve Jobs recuperated has a new owner

Dr. James Eason, the surgeon who carried out the liver transplant of late Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs in 2009, confirmed Monday that he’s bought the home near Overton Park where Jobs recuperated after his surgery.

In a meeting with the Shelby County Commission about an unrelated matter, Eason said he bought the home from the limited liability company that originally bought the home for Jobs. Eason told commissioners he visited Jobs in the home, and when he learned it was going on the market, he asked the administrator of the LLC if he could buy it.

Eason is an old friend of George Riley, a lawyer who’s served as a lawyer for Apple and who was a point man for a lot of the details of Jobs’ visit here for a transplant in 2009.