There's No Time Like The Past To Invest In Hmos

Ever since health care became topic No.1 in Washington, an ominous cloud has hung over an array of companies, from drugmakers to insurers. But for investors in health-maintenance organizations, the debate has been a bonanza. Most reform proposals would encourage membership in managed-care arrangements such as HMOs. Even without legislation, businesses are pushing employees into these groups, which keep employers' costs low by charging a flat annual fee for each worker. Despite being buffeted by fears of price cuts early this summer, HMO stocks are up an average 17% for the year, vs. an overall market that's down 1%. And that's on top of a 25% jump last year and an 87% gain in 1992.

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