HCA Holdings Inc. (HCA), the largest for-profit hospital chain, yesterday raised its forecast and reported a 6.6 percent drop in uninsured patients at its 165 hospitals, a reduction that grows to 48 percent in four states that expanded Medicaid, a top initiative of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. WellPoint Inc. (WLP), which made the biggest commitment of any publicly traded insurer to the Obamacare markets, raised its guidance today after handily beating analyst estimates for the quarter on rising membership linked to the overhaul. […]More insured people means more policies sold and more payments to hospitals for treatments, which is only good news for hospitals. It also means insurance companies aren't experiencing any "death spiral" from having to provide coverage to sick people—there are enough healthy ones signed up to keep them in the black. It also means that the taxpayers are getting a break because Medicare's costs are shrinking.
“Obamacare’s turned out to be quite good for health-care companies,” said Les Funtleyder, a portfolio manager at Esquared asset management, in a telephone interview.
LifePoint Hospitals Inc. (LPNT), another for-profit chain, also raised its forecast yesterday while the largest insurer, UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH), said earlier this month it added 635,000 people to its Medicaid plans and was expanding into two dozen Obamacare exchanges in 2015, from five this year.
What this all adds up to is that the number of allies Republicans have in repeal has shrunk to two judges on the D.C. Circuit and the diminishing tea party base.