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NEW YORK, April 20 (Reuters) - Shares of U.S. hospital operators fell on Thursday after news reports that Republicans were making fresh progress with plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
Republican moderates and conservatives were nearing a deal on healthcare that could get an alternative to the law through the U.S. House of Representatives, according to the Huffington Post. Politico published a document it said represented the Republicans' new proposal.
CNBC and CNN also reported that the changes could push more Republicans to favor the health bill, which was dropped late last month after it failed to get enough support to pass.
The Huffington Post said that the changes in the works might still leave the bill without enough support, while Politico questioned the likelihood of the bill's passage next week.
The U.S. Senate, which has been on a two-week break, returns to Washington D.C. on Monday, while the House returns on Tuesday. They are expected to work on a funding bill needed to avoid a government shutdown on April 28.
Hospital stocks have been pressured by Republican efforts to roll back Obamacare, which benefited the companies by expanding insurance coverage.
Shares of HCA Holdings, the most valuable publicly-traded hospital company, fell 1.8 percent, while Tenet Healthcare dropped 4.1 percent and Community Health Systems fell 3.9 percent.
The stocks had surged after Republicans pulled their initial bill late last month, dealing a setback to President Donald Trump's vow to repeal Obamacare. (Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf, additional reporting by Susan Heavey and Richard Cowan in Washington D.C.; Editing by Nick Zieminski)