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Richard Drew / AP

Health care companies' stocks soared Thursday after Senate Republicans released the text of their bill to repeal portions of the Affordable Care Act and overhaul Medicaid.

The driving forces behind the rally: the GOP bill would repeal the ACA's taxes and change individual insurance markets. Wall Street, often focused on the short term, also appears content with ignoring large cuts to Medicaid in the long term. Here's how each sector is faring:

  • Pharmaceutical and medical device companies: Rising drug prices are not addressed at all, and medical-device companies would get a full repeal of the ACA's tax on their products. Those are clear victories for two powerful industries. Stock prices rose especially high for drug companies Gilead Sciences, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly and Pfizer.
  • Large health insurance companies: The Senate bill would repeal the ACA's health insurance tax, a top lobbying goal for the industry. Companies would also have a lot more leeway in charging older Americans more for coverage, leading to higher stock gains for Aetna, Anthem, Cigna, Humana and UnitedHealth Group. However, they would be negatively affected by Medicaid cuts, as states likely would cut their payments in managed-care contracts.
  • Hospitals: If the Senate bill ends up facing estimated coverage losses similar to the House version, hospitals are in trouble. But hospital companies like HCA, Tenet Healthcare and Community Health Systems traded higher because of the slight extension to the ACA's Medicaid expansion — even though there will be bigger Medicaid cuts over time in the Senate bill.
  • Medicaid insurers: Stock prices at Centene, Molina Healthcare and WellCare Health Plans rose sharply. These companies get the same benefits as the big insurers, but also could see their Medicaid payments cut more in the future.

The bottom line: Wall Street favors short-term gains, and the Senate bill would repeal the ACA's taxes almost immediately.

Go deeper

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.

47 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Dems invoke Robert Byrd to sell Manchin on Senate rules changes

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Diana Walker, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A small group of Senate Democrats is privately invoking the legacy of late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd in an effort to sway Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support their plans to change the chamber's rules, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Manchin — who holds Byrd's Senate seat — has often referenced his predecessor's strong moral conviction and insistence on preserving the Senate as an institution, as justification for some of his tough positions.

House votes to ban imports from Xinjiang over forced labor concerns

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The House voted 428-1 on Wednesday to pass a bill that would ban all imports from the Chinese region of Xinjiang unless the U.S. government determines that the products were not made with forced labor.

Why it matters: Both the Trump and Biden administrations, as well as several foreign parliaments, have recognized China's repression of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang as genocide.

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