US Senate Republicans finally reveal their draft of a healthcare bill that would unwind much of the Affordable Care Act also called Obamacare. The bill was controversially held under wraps before its release.
Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, is seeking a one week timetable for the vote.
Health-care and biotech stocks spurred a late afternoon rally but it wasn't enough to pull the big board into positive territory. In flat trading, the Dow edged lower -0.06% while the S&P 500 dipped -0.05%. Nasdaq notched up +0.04%.
Retail pharmacies didn't get the expected surge from the bill. Slipping were Walgreens Boots (-2.24%), CVS (-1.20%) and Rite Aid (-3.45%). While major pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson (+0.85%) and Pfizer (+0.53%) went up.
Merck which climbed +0.86% at close, also announced it would expand a collaboration with healthcare organisation, Premiere (+0.51%) to address chronic care for Type 2 Diabetes patients at risk for hypoglycemia and preventative care to improve adolescent and adult vaccination rates.
- Dow 21,397 -0.06%
- S&P 500 2,435 -0.05%
- Nasdaq 6,237 +0.04%
- Russell 2000 1,404.53 +0.38%
- NYSE Composite 11,712.52 +0.14%
- Gold 1,250.70 +0.10%
- Oil WTI $42.73 -0.02%
10-Year Yield 2.15% -0.00
Accenture and Dr. Pepper sink
Over on the tech index, Oracle, jumped +8.57% after beating on Q4 earnings and revenue estimates. Specialty retailer, Staples, also leapt 6.24% at close on news of a potential buyout by private equity firm, Sycamore.
Accenture, shed -3.96% in spite of reporting better-than-expected Q3 2017 earnings and revenue results. Consumer non-durables, Dr Pepper Snapple Group dropped -3.63% after announcing the CEO, Ben Weiss, of its Bai brand was leaving.
Oil prices finally ease upwards Thursday but are hanging on in bear territory as concerns over the oil glut continue. Saudia Arabia and other OPEC members are grappling with how to align production with demand.
In sickness and in health
The House Republican's own version of the repeal bill went down like the proverbial lead balloon for many Americans.
Initial reactions to the Senate version thus far suggests it too may be as unpalatable. Its appeal is already being debated by a cross section of the public including doctors, Democrats and even a number of GOP senators who are only recently seeing the draft for the first time.
Many have rounded on the secrecy of the plan and news report suggest at least a dozen Republican Senators are resistant to the bill's swift passage wanting more time to make their decision. In addition, some Republicans want the bill to go further and to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
McConnell needs 50 out of 52 Republicans to pass the bill as none of the Democrats are expected to do so. Much of the criticism from the left centres on curbing Medicaid funding yet cutting taxes on the wealthy. It also dispenses with the requirement for Americans without insurance to pay a penalty.
Former US president Barack Obama, posted on Facebook today writing, "that the Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else."