Public Option Death Gives Life to Health Care Stocks

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The reported death of the public option in the congressional health care overhaul breathed life into health care stocks on Wednesday.

The New York Times reported that Harry Reid said an agreement had been reached on the contentious public option. While Reid can parse his words and say the public option has been "sidelined" as opposed to "killed," the reported agreement seemed to be, in effect, a Congressional authorization of assisted suicide in the case of its handling of the public option.

Amerigroup ( AGP) led the surge, up more than 3% at the midday trading point Wednesday. UnitedHealth Group ( UNH) was up a marginal 0.4%, but other health care names had more sizable gains.

Humana ( HUM) was taking part in the limited rally, up 0.7% at midday. Health Net ( HNT) and Aetna ( AET) were up 1.6% and 0.8%, respectively in early trading.

WellCare Health Plans ( WCG) was doing well, up 0.4%, while Wellpoint ( WLP) was still looking a little unwell on Wednesday, down 0.4% at mid-day.

Cigna ( CIG), on the other hand, was down 0.7% at mid-day.

-- Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.

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