11-20-2017  3:22 am      •     
MLK Breakfast
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NEWS BRIEFS

SEI, Sunshine Division Offer Thanksgiving Meals to Families in Need

Turkeys are being provided to fill 200 Thanksgiving food boxes for SEI families ...

NAACP Portland Monthly Meeting Nov. 18

Monthly general membership meeting takes place on Saturday, 12 - 2 p.m. ...

Multnomah County Animal Services Waives Adoption Fees Nov. 17

Special runs from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday ...

Fitzpatrick Presents 'Pathway 1000' Plan Before City Council

Plan would restore involuntary displacement by building 80 homes per year ...

Sisters Network to Hold Monthly Meeting Nov. 11

Meeting to take place Saturday morning at June Key Delta Center ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Local Author Visits North Portland Library

Renee Watson teaches students and educators about the power of writing ...

Is the FBI’s New Focus on “Black Identity Extremists” the New COINTELPRO?

Rep. Cedric L. Richmond (D-La.) talks about the FBI’s misguided report on “Black Identity Extremism” and negative Facebook ads. ...

ACA Enrollment Surging, Even Though It Ends Dec. 15

NNPA contributing writer Cash Michaels writes about enrollment efforts ...

Blacks Often Pay Higher Fees for Car Purchases than Whites

Charlene Crowell explains why Black consumers often pay higher fees than White consumers, because of “add-on” products. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Hibah Yousuf

obamacare coverage chartNEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Health care stocks have been hot since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, outperforming the broader market by a healthy margin.

Insurance companies UnitedHealth, Cigna and Aetna have all climbed about 100 percent since Obamacare was signed into law. They initially got a boost as investors anticipated that the law, which requires Americans to have health insurance beginning in 2014 or pay a penalty, would result in millions of new customers.

New state-based exchanges open for enrollment this week, but analysts note that many major insurers are not going to take part on them yet. So investors should not expect another Obamacare bump for these stocks in the short-term.

But insurers that specialize in Medcaid, such as Molina and Centene, could benefit sooner, said ClearBridge Investments health care analyst Marshall Gordon. Though only a little over half of the nation's states are opting to expand coverage for their low-income residents, Gordon expects more will eventually sign on.

Major hospital operators Tenet Healthcare, Community Health System and HCA Holding have also gained considerable ground thanks to the legislation.

"Hospitals currently get stuck paying for a lot of uninsured patients when they come to the emergency room," said Charles Sizemore, chief investment officer at Sizemore Capital Management. He expects the increase in the number of insured Americans to help increase revenue and limit the debt burden at hospitals, but he added that this is mostly factored into their stock prices already.

Still, Obamacare is not the only reason why the health care sector has done so well for the past three years.

The real stars of health care have been biotechnology companies. In fact, the S&P 500 biotechnology index is up a whopping 60% just this year -- more than any other part of the health care sector.

The gains have been driven by a number of high-profile government drug approvals over the past few years. Jeffrey Loo, a S&P Capital IQ analyst, noted that Vertex's Incivek, a drug to treat Heptatis C, was approved in 2011 and became the fastest drug in history to reach $1 billion in sales.

Shares of biotech companies have also been lifted by several large mergers, such as Amgen's $10 billion purchase of Onyx Pharmacuticals. Loo said that's led to speculation of more biotech deals.

Despite the big surge in health care stocks overall, analysts remain optimistic.

ClearBridge's Gordon said many pharmaceutical firms are developing innovative new drugs. He particularly likes Bristol-Myers, Merck and AstraZeneca.

The industry also stands to benefit as baby boomers get older.

"The aging population could provide a boon for the industry as an increasing number of Americans require more extensive drug treatments and medical care," said Brad Sorensen, director of market and sector research at Charles Schwab.

But Sorensen added that the health care sector "is very politically charged right now." So investors will need to keep any eye on how exactly Obamacare is implemented.

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