Health reform in the filings…
Unless you’re in a cave somewhere, chances are that you’ve heard about the big Supreme Court decision on healthcare that was handed down earlier this morning. There’s plenty of good coverage on the many details in the decision, including live video on the WSJ’s site, so we’re not going to try to compete there.
For the past two years, we’ve been tracking the disclosures that various companies have made in the filings as they awaited today’s decision. For example, you might recall AT&T’s (T) big announcement back in March 2010 that it planned to take a $1 billion charge related to the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”. In August 2010, we footnoted United Parcel Services’ (UPS) disclosure that whatever changes would be rolled out would not be material.
Given that healthcare spending accounts for 18% of GDP in the US and that many companies are publicly traded, you’d expect a lot of disclosures on this in the filings. And you wouldn’t be wrong. We ran a bunch of different searches for keywords related to healthcare reform and clearly, corporate attorneys have been busy. Indeed, three companies mentioned the Act in filings yesterday: Accentia Biopharmaceuticals (ABPI), Energy Transfer (ETP) and Barnes and Noble (BKS), which included the Act in a long list of risk factors in the 10-K it filed yesterday.
In the 10-K it filed on Tuesday, Medtronic (MDT), which has included the Act as a risk factor for the past 3 years, added a new disclosure about the potential cost. Restaurant chain Bob Evans Farms (BOBE), which also recently filed its 10-K, has included its concerns about the requirement to list calories on its menus as required under the Act and how that might impact guest behavior, noting that the law “could have an adverse effect on our sales or results of operations”. (Of course, that’s only if people start paying attention to the calorie count in things like the Big Farm Smokehouse Burger, which weighs in at 1,200 calories without any fries).
Here at footnoted, we’ll continue to keep our eyes on these disclosures, since we expect them to intensify over the next few days and weeks.