Editors' pick: Originally published Jan. 20.
If President Donald Trump and Congress are successful in repealing Obamacare, shares of health insurance stocks may actually benefit, according to one expert.
"They're going to struggle to provide insurance in the individual market" if Obamacare is repealed," said Jon Lieber, U.S. practice director at the Eurasia Group.
Without the subsidies and the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, Lieber said few will want to purchase health insurance.
As a result, the aforementioned companies may withdraw from the individual market and focus on the employer market, where they will have healthier pools of people. "In some sense [an Obamacare repeal] could be positive for these stocks," he said.
Year to date, UnitedHealth and Aetna shares slipped 1% while Humana's stock rose roughly 0.4%.
Lieber thinks the chances of an Obamacare repeal are high. "Republicans have been very far forward on the idea that they want to first repeal and then replace this bill for at least the [seven] years since it was signed into law," Lieber said. He expects a repeal bill to move through the House and the Senate within the first month of Donald Trump's administration.
He said there is a lot less consensus within the GOP on what the replacement plan should be.
Per estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, an Obamacare repeal could leave 18 million people without insurance.