Hospital stocks ended 2012 posting big gains despite a year that was filled with uncertainty regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
When the closing bell rang Dec. 31, HCA, Nashville, the largest investor-owned chain, was trading 37% higher than it was on the last trading day of 2011. Community Health Systems, Brentwood, Tenn., added more than 77% to its market capitalization.
And Tenet Healthcare Corp., Dallas, saw gains of 58% over the same period.
The boost came despite a tumultuous—but ultimately fruitful—year that saw the U.S. Supreme Court uphold key provisions of the healthcare law, and the re-election of President Barack Obama to cement its future.
And despite weak patient volume, investor-owned systems managed to cut costs, boost outpatient revenue and reap gains from strategic acquisitions to satisfy investors.
Over the same period, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 7.25% and the S&P 500, 13.4%.