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UnitedHealth's political and financial heft just keeps growing

A group of buildings surrounded by trees, the UnitedHealth Group headquarters.
UnitedHealth's headquarters in Minnesota. Photo: Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune via Getty Images

UnitedHealth Group's stock fell 2.3% yesterday even though the company continues to print money and raised its profit projections for the rest of the year.

The big picture: Wall Street is quibbling over the "quality" of UnitedHealth's earnings beat, but that doesn't really matter. UnitedHealth remains the most financially powerful private entity in the U.S. health care system, and any reforms would be up against its growing empire.

UnitedHealth Group beats profit estimates again

A building with a UnitedHealthcare sign in front at nighttime
UnitedHealthcare covers 39 million Americans in full-scale medical plans. Photo: UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group's second-quarter profit increased by 13% year over year to $3.3 billion, and revenue in the quarter rose to almost $61 billion as the health care giant restrained how much it paid for medical and pharmacy claims and sold more of its technology and consulting services.

The bottom line: UnitedHealth, on its own, now represents more than 6% of the entire health care economy. The company's footprint and control of the premium dollar will only grow as it acquires more doctors.