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Hospital stocks rally as Medicare tempers budget cut blow

Bloomberg, April 30, 2013
HCA Holdings Inc. (HCA) led hospital stocks higher after the U.S. government proposed new Medicare payment rates that would soften the blow of federal budget cuts. HCA, the largest for-profit hospital company in the U.S., gained 5.5 percent to $40.37 at the close in New York in its biggest increase since Nov. 7. The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said April 26 that it plans a net raise in payments to acute-care hospitals of 0.8 percent beginning Oct. 1. Investors were expecting no change to as much as a 1 percent decrease, according to Brian Tanquilut, an analyst at Jefferies & Co.