RESTON, Va. (
) -- As the House and Senate attempt to merge two health-care bills into a single version amenable to President Obama, the only certainty is that the government will end up spending more on health care in the coming years.
Regardless of whether you think that's a wonderful advancement for our country or the death knell of our society, the fact is that many companies would profit as health-care coverage would expand. As a result, there would be a slew of investing opportunities.
A company that would stand to benefit is Reston, Virginia-based
, which provides operations program management and consulting services to government entities. Maximus derives much of its revenue from operations management on Medicare and Medicaid programs, which would get a substantial increase after the passage of the health-care bill.
Granted, many initiatives in the health-care legislation wouldn't be rolled out until 2013, though Maximus' work flow would increase in the ramp-up phase. Even without an additional shot to the arm, the company's fundamentals alone suggest that Maximus is a sound investment.
Maximus' stock price increased 46% this year, while the
rose 26%. The company is still attractive, with a return on equity of almost 20% paired with a price-to-earnings ratio of just 14.5. Maximus' peer group has an average P/E ratio of 18.6.
The company has no long-term debt on its books and a cash balance of more than $90 million, giving it a lot of flexibility. Maximus could take on a modest amount of long-term debt to fuel growth without increasing risk very much. A dividend yield of 0.9% and a share buyback that wrapped up in the first quarter enabled the company to push money back at shareholders.
For Maximus to fully realize the benefits from the expansion of Medicare and Medicaid, investors will need to hold the stock for some time.
-- Reported by David MacDougall in Boston.
Prior to joining TheStreet.com Ratings, David MacDougall was an analyst at Cambridge Associates, an investment consulting firm, where he worked with private equity and venture capital funds. He graduated cum laude from Northeastern University with a bachelor's degree in finance and is a Level III CFA candidate.