Morgan Stanley: ACA uncertainty to affect hospitals' bad debt beyond Q3

Uncertainty over the ACA will cause fewer people to be insured and pressure hospitals' finances, Morgan Stanley analysts wrote in a note to clients Monday, according to Business Insider.

The uninsured rate is already growing. In the third quarter of this year, the number of uninsured Americans grew to 12.3 percent, up from 11.7 percent in the previous quarter. This is the highest percentage since 2014.

Morgan Stanley analysts pointed to destabilization of the public exchanges, changes to the open enrollment schedule and increasing premiums as contributors to the predicted incline in uninsured patients.

"Challenging political and regulatory environment will likely impact bad debt / uncompensated care in our facilities coverage beyond [third quarter of 2017]," the analysts said. "Given the recent executive order by President [Donald] Trump and subsequent decision to suspend [cost-sharing reduction] subsidies, we see near-term headwinds for hospitals through either low volume or increased bad debt." 

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