Health insurers rally after Sanders misses double-digit victory in New Hampshire

The stocks will likely mirror the inverse of the rise and fall of Sanders, who 'wrote the damn bill' on Medicare-for-all

Bernie Sanders’ narrow victory in the first-in-the-nation New Hampshire primary Tuesday night sent shares of health insurers surging the next day.

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The reason? According to an analyst note from JPMorgan Chase, the rally stemmed from Sanders’ failure to win the state by a double-digit margin, like he did in 2016, when he beat Hillary Clinton by more than 20 percentage points.

This year, the Vermont senator and self-avowed democratic socialist defeated Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, by just slightly more than 1 percentage point. Both Democratic hopefuls were allotted the same number of delegates.

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“We believe Sen. Sanders’ failure to win New Hampshire by the expected double-digit margin is a positive surprise for the health care facilities and managed care sector,” the analysts wrote in a Wednesday note.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
HUMHUMANA291.63-8.48-2.83%
ANTMANTHEM INC203.30-8.09-3.83%
UNHUNITEDHEALTH GROUP INCORPORATED229.49-10.95-4.55%
CICIGNA CORP.163.84-4.97-2.94%

Human Inc. rose nearly 14 points, or 4.12 percent, and Anthem spiked close to 12 points, or 4.39 percent. Centene Corp. rose 2 points, or 3.23 percent. UnitedHealth rose 10 points, or 3.68 percent, buoying the Dow’s gains. Cigna, meanwhile, spiked 5 points, or 2.52 percent.

The stocks will likely mirror the inverse of the rise and fall of Sanders, who “wrote the damn bill” on Medicare-for-all, the sweeping, multitrillion-dollar proposal to eliminate private insurance and shift the country toward a single-payer system.

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“We believe a Trump re-election, any other Democrat winning the White House or Republicans retaining control of the Senate will prove to be a positive catalyst for the sector,” the analysts wrote.

Over the summer, Sanders acknowledged he would raise taxes on the middle class in order to pay for his single-payer system but insisted most Americans would see their overall costs fall because they would no longer be on the hook for deductibles, copays or premiums. A family currently paying $20,000 for private insurance would see that obligation eliminated, he said, though taxes could increase by $10,000.

“Is that a good deal? I think it’s a pretty good deal,” he said at the time.

Sanders is polling in first place nationally, according to an average published by RealClearPolitics.

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