A Healthcare Opportunity For Investors?

If you look at the fundamental outlook for the healthcare industry over the next couple of decades you can’t help but be impressed. After all, the demographic shifts our country is going to see as the baby boomers retire is quite compelling. From an investment perspective, leading companies serving our aging population stand to profit tremendously.

However, the current market climate for such stocks is quite interesting; healthcare stocks are getting hammered with investor interest lackluster at best. We know big pharma is facing severe headwinds. But insurance firms are down, as are medical device companies, not to mention the brutal sell-off in biotechnology in recent weeks.

It’s true that any government-led reform to the healthcare sector could be negative for these companies to a certain degree. Right now, cost containment within Medicare and Medicaid is pretty much non-existent. If policy makers took firm action to bring costs down, pricing pressures would compress profit margins for essentially all healthcare firms.

However, how likely is such broad reform? And even if it does occur, will it completely cancel out all the incremental business gained from the aging boomer generation? I think these are important questions to ask when analyzing the sector and I suspect there are some excellent values beginning to surface, and prices could certainly continue falling in the short-term as governmental involvement is always more of a concern during election years.