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How stocks will fare in court ruling on health law

June 25, 2012 • Business


Trader Jason Harper works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Friday, June 22, 2012. Stocks are bouncing back in early trading, a day after suffering their second-worst loss this year. The unlikely leaders: banks. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) — Insurers and other health care companies are facing costly new restrictions and fees under the new law. The Republicans, the party most associated with big business, hate it. So if President Obama’s health care overhaul is repealed by the Supreme Court this month, companies would rejoice, right?

Well, not all of them.

For many companies, overturning the law could mean less profit, not more. Certain health care insurers and hospitals could no longer expect to get payments from millions of newly insured patients.

What’s more, health care experts say many big companies want to see the law upheld because they’ve worked hard to adapt to it, and fear legislation replacing it might prove more costly to them.

“There’s no guarantee that Washington wouldn’t come up with something more disruptive,” says Matthew Coffina, a health care analyst at Morningstar, a research firm. “You have to worry about what comes next.”

The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the law, called the Affordable Care Act, by the end of the month. The justices will decide whether Congress went beyond its authority in the Constitution in passing it. They could throw out all of the convoluted law, part of it or decide to keep it intact.

Opponents have focused on the so-called individual mandate. This requires virtually every U.S. resident to carry health insurance. Most of the estimated 50 million currently uninsured will be able to obtain taxpayer-subsidized coverage, either through an expansion of Medicaid eligibility or new markets for private insurance called exchanges. Some people are exempt from the mandate, illegal immigrants, for example.

Here is how some companies will win or lose under four possible rulings by the high court.

THE COURT THROWS OUT THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE BUT KEEPS THE REST OF LAW

Hospitals could find themselves in the sick ward.

Hospitals have to Login to read more

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