Jeb Bush tries to cut Obamacare connection

The for-profit hospital chain Tenet Healthcare announced on Christmas Eve that Jeb Bush would be stepping down from its board of directors by the end of the year. Bush, who has served on the board of Tenet since 2007, is starting to cut his business ties as he explores a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. And there’s one obvious reason why keeping Tenet on his resume might not look so good politically: Tenet has benefited greatly from the Affordable Care Act, which much of the GOP base is still committed to repealing.

Bush is giving up a lucrative board post. He earned $128,500 in cash plus $170,000 in stock last year for a total of $298,500 according to Tenet’s 2013 proxy statement.

And he sat on the board during a particularly profitable time for Tenet.

Tenet is the country’s third-largest publicly traded hospital chain, with 80 hospitals across 14 states and more than 200 outpatient centers in 16 states. The Dallas-based hospital chain immediately reported reaping the benefits of Obamacare’s coverage expansion since it took effect at the start of this year.

The hospital chain’s share of uninsured patients and charity care patients has dropped significantly, while the share of Medicaid patients have increased. In just the second quarter this year, Tenet saw unpaid care drop $78 million.

This swing has been more pronounced in the five states where it operates hospitals that have opted into the ACA’s Medicaid expansion: Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Michigan. Tenet’s also seeing more patients come in with private coverage from the Obamacare exchanges, according to the company’s third quarter results issued last month.

Tenet reported third quarter revenue was up 6 percent over the previous year to $4.18 billion, with the company attributing 40 percent of the gain to the ACA.

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