On Tuesday, January 19 — Election Day in Massachusetts — healthcare stocks shot up to their highest level in 15 months on speculation that Republican Scott Brown would defeat Democrat Martha Coakley for the U.S. Senate seat left empty by the death of Edward M. Kennedy last year. Healthcare stocks should soar through the roof now that Brown has won the seat, and people who are smart enough should be able to read it for what it is.
With the Democratic majority reduced from 60 to 59 in the Senate, meaningful healthcare reform will be more difficult than ever. The irony — and tragedy — of this election is that no one fought longer or harder for the day that all Americans would have access to affordable healthcare than Ted Kennedy. In his death he may have killed that chance forever.
The angry fools who have taken to the streets to scream against healthcare reform are dupes and pawns. This battle has nothing to do with “freedom” or “death panels” or “socialism.” It’s all about profits. It’s all about money and today the healthcare and health insurance industries can look forward to a great year. Their stocks had been in a more or less steady slide since Barack Obama was elected president on a promise of sweeping reform. Any reform that may be possible will certainly not be sweeping. If this battle proves anything, it is that money can trump democracy and common sense. It was not a good day in America — unless you are in the healthcare or insurance business.