Jan 31, 2017

Obamacare remains small part of business at HCA

Roger W / Flickr Creative Commons

HCA, a publicly traded chain of 170 hospitals and 118 surgery centers, recorded only a mild boost to its profit from patients who bought health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges.

HCA's chief financial officer, Bill Rutherford, said on an earnings call Wednesday that even though HCA hospitals had seen more Obamacare patients in 2016, just 2.7% of all hospital admissions and 2.4% of emergency room visits were from exchange members. Obamacare had a net positive effect to HCA's adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of roughly 5%.

For 2017, Rutherford said the $41.5 billion company expects to see a modest increase in Obamacare patients, but he admitted that's a "subjective" guess given the current climate to repeal and replace the law.

Why this matters: People with Obamacare coverage have gone to the hospital and doctor more, but those patients are just a small fraction of a hospital's business. Medicare and Medicaid, the two primary government health insurance programs, are much more vital to hospital chains like HCA. Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, in particular, has heavily reduced uncompensated care.

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Cruise ship evacuations: More Americans test positive for coronavirus

A bus carrying American citizens from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship arrives at the U.S. government-chartered aircraft that is taking them back to the United States while authorities wear protective suits look on at Haneda airport in Tokyo on Monday. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Another 14 passengers tested positive for the novel coronavirus during their evacuation from the Diamond Princess cruise ship before being flown in a "specialist containment" area of the plane to the United States, per a Trump administration statement early Monday.

Details: Over 40 Americans who had been on the ship had previously been confirmed as infected and will remain in Japanese hospitals for treatment, NIAID director Anthony Fauci told "Face the Nation" Sunday. The rest were evacuated, and these latest cases were among them. All evacuees will undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival later Monday.

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GM to exit Australia, New Zealand and Thailand

GM's Holden brand is popular among racing fans down under, and it's been a regular fixture at events like the Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar Race in Australia. Photo: Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

General Motors is retiring its Holden brand from sales in Australia and New Zealand and winding down operations in the two countries and Thailand by 2021, the company confirmed in a statement Monday.

Why it matters: The Holden brand has been in Australia and New Zealand for 160 years, per a GM statement issued in Australia. It is beloved by many motor racing fans down under. Holden produced Australia's first wholly locally made car in 1948.

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In photos: Deadly Storm Dennis lashes U.K., Ireland and western France

A family is rescued from a property in Nantgarw, Wales, on Sunday. The storm comes a week after the U.K. was battered by storm Ciara, which killed two people, per the BBC. Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Storm Dennis continued to pummel parts of England, Wales and Ireland over Sunday night with heavy rain after battering Northern Ireland and Scotland, per the official British weather agency the Met Office.

Why it matters: It's the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean, with its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains that caused widespread flooding across the U.K., the Washington Post notes. Police in Wales confirmed Sunday they found the body of a man who fell into a river as the storm lashed Ystradgynlais.

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