Humana Inc. (NYSE.HUM), Coventry Health Care (NYSE: CVH), Aetna (NYSE: AET), and a whole slew of other health care plan providers and HMOs are up today on hopes – perhaps assumptions – that Massachusetts will seat a Republican senator rather than a Democratic one in the special election underway to replace the late Edward Kennedy. By subtracting one Democratic senator, the GOP will have at least a shot at preventing the required majority President Obama needs to present pass the current version of his healthcare reform bill.
While on the surface, taking healthcare out of the government’s hands and leaving it managed by the likes of Humana Inc., Coventry Health Care, and Aetna seems like a reason to own these names, that’s not necessarily the case in this scenario. Even a Republican victory won’t inherently prevent the bill form coming to the floor for a vote, and even if the bill is defeated, that doesn’t mean these stocks are ownership-worthy.
Nevertheless, sentiment and speculation are ruling the day, and that may put enough gas in the tank to fuel a nice rally from this group…. particularly if Republican Scott Brown is elected.