| NEW YORK, April 4
NEW YORK, April 4 Shares of U.S. hospital
operators dropped on Tuesday as Republicans sought to revive
plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act that has benefited
Shares of HCA Holdings, the largest publicly traded
hospital operator, fell 3.2 percent, while Tenet Healthcare
was off 4.8 percent and Community Health Systems
dropped 6.3 percent.
Top White House officials met moderate and conservative
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday in an
effort to revive a plan to repeal and replace the 2010 health
law, commonly called Obamacare.
Perhaps tempering pressure on the stocks, House Speaker Paul
Ryan said on Tuesday that Republican lawmakers are having
productive talks on a new healthcare reform bill, but it was too
soon to say if and when a new proposal would be put forth.
Hospital stocks surged late last month after House
Republicans pulled their health bill when it appeared the
legislation lacked enough support. But the stocks have now given
up much of those gains.
Investors have been concerned that a healthcare overhaul
will curtail benefits the hospitals have gained from expanded
insurance coverage under Obamacare.
In the options market, puts on Community Health, Tenet and
HCA traded at a faster-than-usual pace on Tuesday, as traders
sought protection against declines in the shares, according to
data from options analytics firm Trade Alert.
Put options convey the right to sell shares at a fixed price
in the future.
Shares of Medicaid-focused health insurers also fell on
Tuesday, with Centene down 2.1 percent and Molina
Healthcare down 2.4 percent.
Those stocks have been pressured by Republicans' plan to
roll back an expansion of the Medicaid health program for
(Additional reprting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Nick