Rarely has there been a time where American government has become more involved in the affairs of private business across a sweeping range of industries. In particular, President Obama seems determined that the continuing saga of attempted health care reform will end under his watch with a resolution, saying the other day, "We are going to get this done. Inaction is not an option. And for those naysayers and cynics who think that this is not going to happen, don't bet against us."
Judging from the performance of health care stocks this year and the comments of executives, the threat that reform will substantially cut into profits is regarded as very possible. Lowering costs, after all, requires having some combination of fewer treatments or a lower cost per treatment -- neither of those being ideal if you're hoping to grow profits.