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Instant View: Supreme Court upholds core of U.S. health law

MYT 12:00:00 AM

(Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the centrepiece of a landmark healthcare overhaul led by President Barack Obama on Thursday. The decision had an immediate impact on trading in healthcare stocks, as hospital shares rose and those of large commercial insurers fell sharply.

Below are reactions to the decision:

MARKET REACTION

JOE RUGGIERI, ANALYST, ISI GROUP

"The one overriding conclusion for healthcare service/device stocks is that a major degree of uncertainty has been removed ... This had been a huge deterrent to healthcare investing at large institutions the last two years (valuation didn't matter).

"In total this is a preferred outcome versus a complicated decision whereby Wall Street still can't sort out how to model Healthcare Services."

MATTHEW COFFINA, ANALYST AT MORNINGSTAR

"We think this is the best outcome for health insurers, not that you'd know that from the stock reaction. I think there's a perception in the marketplace that ACA is bad for insurers. We don't think that's the case.

"WellPoint is down the most today ... because of the exposure it has to the individual and small group markets. "

TODD SCHOENBERGER, MANAGING PRINCIPAL AT THE BLACKBAY GROUP IN NEW YORK

"This gives us clarity, which is what markets needed. This resolved the uncertainty about healthcare. However, with that said, there seems to be some confusion on the ruling. I'm getting word that the mandate is looking like a tax, and if that is the case, that could hurt the economy and that won't help at all. Who knows how this impacts the election?"

MIKE SHEA, MANAGING PARTNER AND TRADER AT DIRECT ACCESS PARTNERS LLC IN NEW YORK

"This is the ruling that would have created minimal market impact and that has basically happened. If they had overturned the whole law, you would've seen a lot of companies fall. The ruling getting held up was already priced into markets. The only groups that risk a larger selloff is the larger HMOs. Hospitals should be up."

CARY LEAHEY, ECONOMIST, DECISION ECONOMICS

"(Chief Justice) Roberts used the magic word 'tax' that I wish Obama had used and we wouldn't have had this problem in the first place."

POLITICAL REACTION:

BILLY TAUZIN, REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN AND FORMER PHARMA INDUSTRY LOBBY CHIEF

"It's certainly a win for the Obama administration, but I think a big boost for the Romney campaign because it's going to inflame the Tea Party activists and all the people who believe the government has overreached in this bill."

"The 26 states are the big winners on Medicaid because it literally gives the states the option of expanding or not. They're not required to now and that's a big win. But it means lots of folks will be caught in between the mandate to have insurance and the fact they may not be able to afford it."

MARK PAULY, WHARTON HEALTH ECONOMIST, VIEWED AS ARCHITECT OF THE LAW'S INDIVIDUAL MANDATE

"When I advocated the individual mandate, I called the penalty for not complying with it a tax, so I was personally pleased to see that Chief Justice Roberts agreed with that. The chief justice seized on a cleaner basis for justifying the law, which doesn't change any precedent for the application of the commerce clause."

"The way we proposed it was that the tax for not complying was basically enough money to buy you basic coverage, and you'd get it. We'll see how effective this one is, because the penalty is not really all that high relative to what they'd have to pay to get the insurance."

HARRY REID, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER

"I'm happy, I'm pleased" to see the Supreme Court put law ahead of partisanship. "No one thinks the law is perfect," he said, but noted that Democrats will work with Republicans to improve it.

NANCY PELOSI, DEMOCRATIC LEADER, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

"In passing health reform, we made history for our nation and progress for the American people. We completed the unfinished business of our society and strengthened the character of our country. We ensured health care would be a right for all, not a privilege for the few. Today, the Supreme Court affirmed our progress and protected that right, securing a future of health and economic security for the middle class and for every American."

JOHN BOEHNER, SPEAKER, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

"The president's health care law is hurting our economy by driving up health costs and making it harder for small businesses to hire. Today's ruling underscores the urgency of repealing this harmful law in its entirety. What Americans want is a common-sense, step-by-step approach to health care reform that will protect Americans' access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at a lower cost. Republicans stand ready to work with a president who will listen to the people and will not repeat the mistakes that gave our country ObamaCare."

AMY KREMER, CHAIRMAN OF THE TEA PARTY EXPRESS

"The American people still reject this legislation as bad policy and unwanted government interference with their lives. We will continue to work to defeat Obamacare at the ballot box in November ..."

HEALTH INDUSTRY REACTION:

ALAN MILLER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF HOSPITAL OPERATOR UNIVERSAL HEALTH SERVICES

"It's good for us. We as an industry, we backed this. We agreed to give up certain things in exchange for substantial coverage of 32 million more people. ... The big thing for us is we've had a lot of bad debt, the whole industry. Well you've got a lot of people now who are going to be covered and they're going to pay their bills, or the federal government or the state or somebody is going to pay their bills, so that's very good for us.

"One of the things I'd like to see go away is the tax on (medical) device manufacturers. To me that not a good thing. 2400 pages of this piece by piece, this is all going to be put through the strainer. But to tax people who are innovating and keeping us alive and making people's lives better, to me that doesn't make a lot of sense."

CHIP KAHN, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE FEDERATION OF AMERICAN HOSPITALS

"Today's decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act will enable millions of Americans to soon obtain health insurance coverage. This outcome also sustains the ability of hospitals to continually improve health care quality and transform the health care delivery system."

JEREMY LAZARUS, PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

"We are pleased that this decision means millions of Americans can look forward to the coverage they need to get healthy and stay healthy ... (It) will allow patients to see their doctors earlier rather than waiting for treatment until they are sicker and care is more expensive."

KAREN IGNANI, CEO, AMERICA'S HEALTH INSURANCE PLANS (AHIP)

"Maintaining the link between market reforms and universal coverage is essential to avoiding significant cost increases and loss of choice for consumers and employers.

"The law expands coverage to millions of Americans, a goal health plans have long supported, but major provisions, such as the premium tax, will have the unintended consequences of raising costs and disrupting coverage unless they are addressed.

(Reporting by David Morgan, Ryan Vlastelica, Donna Smith, Thomas Ferraro, Ellen Freilich, Anna Yukhananov, Toni Clarke, Debra Sherman, Kim Dixon, Bill Berkrot; Compiled by Michele Gershberg)

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