For health insurers, the biggest fallout from the GOP's retreat from health reform will be the scheduled return of the Obamacare health insurance fee next year, after a one-year suspension.
"The return of the insurance fee will be the single largest headwind in 2018," said Stephen Hemsley, UnitedHealth CEO, on the company's earnings conference call, though he added that the company has included the tax in its rate submissions for next year.
UnitedHealth's shares rose on the day, after the insurance giant reported better-than-expected second-quarter earnings, and medical cost controls were boosted by its exit from the Obamacare exchanges this year.Shares of UnitedHealth's rivals — Aetna, Cigna, Anthem and Humana — all fell Tuesday.
"For the last 3-4 months the story on health care has been very positive," said William Herkelrath, manager at TIM Group, a financial data and trade ideas network for investment banks and brokerages.
"We haven't seen any ebbs and flows as political moments happen." Herkelrath said investors have been consistently bullish on the near-term fundamentals for health care."All the comments are based on fundamentals — that near-term earnings are going to be strong," he said.