The Insurance Stock Myth

Joe Scarborough on today's Meet the Press:

...this is a devastating fact -- insurance companies' stocks reached [52-week] highs on Friday after this so called reform bill got its 60th vote. So David Axelrod, who I love and respect, but David Axelrod kept saying 'we took on the insurance companies, this is real reform, they're against it.' Really? I don't think so.

Revisionist history already? In fact, healthcare reform was in jeopardy this past week until Saturday morning when Ben Nelson's 60th vote was announced. Not Friday.

So it's possible that health insurance stocks rose because the Democrats hadn't secured 60 votes, and progressives were threatening to jump ship. I don't know, but I follow this stuff pretty closely and on Friday it looked like healthcare reform was in serious trouble.

Now, it's entirely possible that the insurance companies will like the mandates in this bill. I'm not disputing that. But suggesting the shareholders knew about the Nelson deal and 60 votes -- some 20 hours before it actually happened is, you know, ridiculous. And if they did, then a serious investigation is in order.

Adding... For the record, the Washington Post reported:

Democratic leaders worked for days to hammer out a deal with Nelson. They reached a tentative agreement late Friday night.

The stock market closes at 4:30 p.m. EST and the deal wasn't public until Saturday morning.