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Senate eyes July vote on health bill; more states may follow NY move to keep ACA

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Senate eyes July vote on health bill; more states may follow NY move to keep ACA

In the news

GOP leaders plan to provide Senate Republicans with some options on a bill to replace Affordable Care Act during a closed-door meeting today, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing "Senate GOP lawmakers and aides." Sources told the Journal that the options may include a gradual phaseout of ACA's Medicaid expansion and stabilization of the individual insurance markets. Senate GOP members expect to send the bill to the Congressional Budget Office by the end of this week and are eyeing a vote on the legislation before July 4, according to the report.

President Donald Trump wants the summer to be focused on passing the Republicans' bill to repeal the ACA and the president's fiscal year 2018 budget, White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short told reporters yesterday during an evening briefing.

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Stifel Financial analyst Thomas Carroll said other states are likely to follow New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's lead after he announced some tough regulations to keep health insurers from exiting the state's Affordable Care Act market, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Meanwhile, New York Health Plan Association President and CEO Paul Macielak criticized Cuomo's plan saying it could potentially create greater uncertainty for health plans. "There are issues about the legality and timing of the directive to ban plans that don't participate on the exchange from the Medicaid, Child Health Plus and Essential Plan markets, and the impact it might have on the overall marketplace in New York," Macielak said in a statement. The health insurer group represents 29 managed care health plans.

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The surprise CFO shakeup at AmTrust Financial Services Inc. may address some concerns about the embattled property & casualty insurer amid continued investor skepticism. In a statement, AmTrust's newly named CFO Adam Karkowsky highlighted the need to improve the insurer's financial disclosures — a point of frustration for observers and investors, according to Keefe Bruyette & Woods analyst Meyer Shields.

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Brighthouse Life Insurance Co.'s creditworthiness was questioned during a hearing that was part of the company's attempt to receive regulatory approval to spin off from MetLife Inc. John Noble, the hearing officer, peppered witnesses with questions on whether a downgraded credit rating from Fitch Ratings would negatively affect policyholders and shareholders in the form of "prejudice."

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AmWINS Group Inc. has completed the acquisition of Partners Specialty Group LLC. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

NFP Corp. acquired Kempkey Insurance Services Inc., a Napa, Calif.-based commercial lines insurance broker specializing in the wine and hospitality industries.

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Humana Inc. affirmed its EPS outlook for fiscal year 2017. The company expects GAAP EPS of at least $16.91 and adjusted EPS of at least $11.10 for the year.

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Certain Athene Holding Ltd. shareholders plan to offer an aggregate of 16.2 million class A common shares in an underwritten public offering.

Certain James River Group Holdings Ltd. shareholders sold 4,250,000 common shares in an underwritten public offering.

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Molina Healthcare of New Mexico Inc. named Daniel Sorrells as the company's new president, Albuquerque Business First reported.

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Preliminary medical loss ratios for 2016 at several top U.S. managed care insurers show how some health companies are struggling in the individual market, according to the analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Featured news

FDA wants more generic drug competition; ACA repeal eyed for summer: In a bid to increase competition and lower the prices of medicines, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering prioritizing the approval of additional competing generic drugs. The agency aims to have three manufacturers for each generic drug, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told Bloomberg News.

Financial news in other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: JPMorgan eyes fully controlled China venture; ICICI Bank to cut Indian JV stake

Europe: More insurers pick post-Brexit EU bases; Banco Popular meeting with ECB

Middle East & Africa: More countries cut ties with Qatar; GFH Financial shelves SHUAA talks

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.52% to 25,997.14, while the Nikkei 225 fell 0.95% to 19,979.90.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.8% at 7,520.78 and the Euronext 100 was 0.32% lower at 1,021.88.

On the macro front

The Gallup US ECI, the Redbook and the JOLTS report are due out today.