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Monday, July 24th 2006

HCA

HCA is the largest for profit hospital operator in the country. Well, actually its the largest irregard of profit seeking status. In anycase, it has agreed to the 2nd largest leveraged buy out ever.

What the heck is leveraged buy out? Well, I asked that question at least. Turns out it’ll no longer be a publicly traded company. The entire company will be, as it was founded, privately owned.

This is not just business news, but as Slate points out it’s a little bit of political irony. It’s sad as well for all those wishing for some market based solutions to our healthcare problems…seeing as those most likely to advocate for such, are basically betting against it.

Big business deals usually aren’t ironic, but this one surely is. HCA, a firm founded by the family of the Republican Senate majority leader, Bain, a firm whose founders include Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential aspirant Mitt Romney, and KKR, a firm run by Henry Kravis, a major Republican donor, are betting on the continued expansion of government. HCA’s sale is essentially a $33 billion investment in the idea that government will take an even bigger role in health care. As Les Funtleyder, health-care strategist at Wall Street firm Miller Tabak + Co., put it this morning, “[T]he buyout firms are making a leveraged bet on an improving economy and the prospect of universal health care.”

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