On healthcare and the upcoming election…

June 18, 2008

It’s no secret that the two major candidates for President have vastly different takes when it comes to healthcare reform (here’s Obama’s plan and here’s McCain’s plan).

And now, fears over which way it will go have started to filter into various SEC filings, mostly in the form of risk factors. Among those companies warning are Cerner (CERN), Cardionet (BEAT), Genoptix (GXPX) and EHealth (ELTH). Most of the warnings are variations on this, which are identical at Cardionet and Genoptix, which probably means they must have the same external lawyers working on their SEC filings:

In addition, as a result of the focus on healthcare reform in connection with the 2008 Presidential election, there is risk that Congress may implement changes in laws and regulations governing healthcare service providers, including measures to control costs or reductions in reimbursement levels, which may have an adverse impact on our business.

But some go a bit further, like EHealth, which warns that “certain candidates for the 2008 presidential election have espoused as part of their overall campaign platform variations of a universal healthcare system that would require substantial number of individuals to purchase or otherwise obtain health insurance for themselves and/or their children. We cannot be certain of the impact of any new legislation at the state or federal level, but it could harm our business, operating results and financial condition.”

The oddest disclosure related to healthcare and the upcoming election comes from Petmeds (PETS), which warned that all of that election-time advertising made it more difficult and expensive for them to buy advertising time.

While I try to stay out of politics on this site, those who follow footnoted pretty closely can probably figure out where I stand. Let’s just put it this way: if there was decent health insurance in this country, I could hire more people to read filings.

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