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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Conventional investor wisdom is to steer clear of next month's election, due to its inherent uncertainty and consequential volatility. But, this morning, Chamath Palihapitiya bet big on a company whose fortunes may be significantly impacted by the presidential victor.

Driving the news: Clover Health, a tech-enabled provider of Medicare Advantage plans, agreed to go public via a reverse merger with a Palihapitiya-led SPAC called Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings III (NYSE: IPOC).

  • The deal values Clover at around $3.7 billion, inclusive of a $400 million PIPE.
  • Clover had raised over $900 million in VC funding from firms like First Round Capital, Greenoaks Capital Partners, Sequoia Capital, and GV.

The politics: Both presidential candidates support Medicare Advantage, a program whereby private insurers provide extra benefits to seniors enrolled in Medicare (e.g., dental, vision, etc.).

  • The big difference, however, is that Joe Biden wants to lower the Medicare enrollment age from 65 to 60 — which could result in nearly 20 million more eligible Medicare Advantage customers.
  • He would, of course, need an amenable Congress.

Palihapitiya tells me that he struck the deal independent of politics.

  • "More than 10,000 people turn 65 each day. Even if Biden doesn't win, that's around a billion dollars in new revenue possibly created each week, and Clover has a share of that, competing against companies like United Health and Humana. It doesn't take a genius to work out the compounding effect."
  • The number of Medicare Advantage enrollees more than doubled between 2009 and 2019, and certain regulations were subsequently relaxed due to the pandemic.
  • Palihapitiya adds that he kicked the tires on Clover during its Series A funding round in 2015, but passed. "I didn't understand Medicare Advantage yet and was just coming up to speed on the intricacies of Obamacare."

The bottom line: Medicare Advantage is likely to be a growing, lucrative business no matter who sits in the Oval Office for the next four years. But the degree of growth may be on the ballot.

Go deeper

Oct 14, 2020 - Health

Private equity-owned air ambulances charge the highest rates

Adapted from Brookings; Chart: Axios Visuals

Air ambulances owned by private equity firms charge the highest rates — more than seven times what Medicare pays, according to a new analysis by the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy.

Why it matters: Air ambulances are frequent sources of surprise medical bills, and even when they're covered by insurance, we all pay for these expensive prices through our premiums.

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

Texas abortion law remains in effect after appeals court ruling

Pro- and anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court as arguments begin about the Texas abortion law on Capitol Hill in November. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A U.S. appeals court transferred a challenge to Texas' law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy to the state supreme court in a 2-1 vote on Monday evening.

Why it matters: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision means the country's most restrictive abortion law can remain in place for the time being.