Oct 26, 2018

Health care companies' huge tax windfalls

The New York Stock Exchange.

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Republican tax law has rerouted billions of dollars from the federal treasury into the bank accounts of health care companies and Wall Street investors.

By the numbers: These are some of the tax savings that have been calculated so far in 2018, according to my analysis of Q3 earnings reports.

  • UnitedHealth Group: $1.1 billion
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb: $463 million
  • Johnson & Johnson: $430 million
  • Gilead: $413 million
  • Biogen: $118 million
  • Universal Health Services: $92 million

Details: These numbers were calculated by taking each company’s effective tax rate from the first 9 months of 2017 and applying it toward operating profits in the first 9 months of 2018.

  • The difference between that number and the amount the company actually paid so far this year, under a lower rate, equals an estimated total savings.

The bottom line: Some companies have had similar or even higher tax bills this year compared with last year. But these 6 companies alone have reaped $2.6 billion from the lower corporate tax rate — a haul that has more than paid for any lobbying to get the law across the finish line.

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