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S&P: Leverage Tops Politics as Primary Credit Concern for U.S. Health Care Companies, Says S&P
Date:10/16/2007

NEW YORK, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- As the race to the 2008 elections heats up, nearly every presidential hopeful has offered a proposal for providing health care coverage.

"But when it comes to the already deteriorating credit quality of health care companies, the debt burden of industry players is a more overarching consideration than the rhetoric of presidential candidates making new health care proposals," said Standard & Poor's Ratings Services in a report published Oct. 12, 2007.

"For now, the more imminent operating challenges of aggressive debt- financed mergers and acquisitions, and volatile capital market conditions loom larger for the health care field than the longer term risk potential associated with U.S. presidential political platforms," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Michael Kaplan in the report titled "Leverage -- Not Politics -- Is The Biggest Issue For Corporate Health Care Credit Strength."

In conjunction with this article, Standard & Poor's published several health care stories over the past week, ahead of its hot topics conference, "Politics And Leverage May Be Hazardous For Health Care," which will be held on Oct. 22, 2007.

For the full articles published on RatingsDirect:

-- "Increased Leverage And Health Care Reform Could Ail For-Profit

Hospital Credit"

-- "Top 10 Reasons Why States Are Central To Health Care Reform Efforts"

-- "Do Massachusetts Health Care Reform And California Proposals

Foreshadow A National Plan?"

-- "U.S. Health Care And Politics: As The Heat Rises, Can Big Pharma Stay

Insulated?"

-- "Clinical Labs, Distributors, And PBMs Share Financial Policy

Uncertainty And 'BBB' Ratings"

-- "Credit FAQ: Competitive Bidding's Impact On Durable Medical Equipment

Suppliers"

-- "Health Care Regulation -- Often A Curse, But Potentially, A Blessing"

The reports are available to subscribers of RatingsDirect, the real-time Web-based source for Standard & Poor's credit ratings, research, and risk analysis, at http://www.ratingsdirect.com. If you are not a RatingsDirect subscriber, you may purchase a copy of the report by calling (1) 212-438-9823 or sending an e-mail to research_request@standardandpoors.com. Ratings information can also be found on Standard & Poor's public Web site at http://www.standardandpoors.com; under Credit Ratings in the left navigation bar, select Find a Rating, then Credit Ratings Search. Members of the media may request a copy of this report by contacting the media representative provided.

About Standard & Poor's

Standard & Poor's, a division of The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), is the world's foremost provider of financial market intelligence, including independent credit ratings, indices, risk evaluation, investment research and data. With approximately 8,500 employees, including wholly owned affiliates, located in 21 countries, Standard & Poor's is an essential part of the world's financial infrastructure and has played a leading role for more than 140 years in providing investors with the independent benchmarks they need to feel more confident about their investment and financial decisions. For more information, visit http://www.standardandpoors.com.


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SOURCE Standard & Poor's
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