Health care exchange traded funds (ETFs) are non-discretionary, have a projected growth rate at 6.6%-6.7% from 2008 through 2017. It could also get a boost from specific reforms, if those reforms come to pass. Much of that depends on which president wins the election.

Senator John McCain:

  • Wants a focus on health care for veterans and ensuring that funding is distributed to them fairly
  • Giving military retirees tax breaks to help pay their premiums
  • Opposes user fees on military retirees for using military medical facilities

Senator Hillary Clinton:

  • Wants universal health-care coverage by the end of her second term
  • Wants collaboration to achieve this goal

Senator Barack Obama:

  • Wants universal coverage by 2012
  • Wants to modernize the health care system and keep costs down
  • Wants to promote preventative care

Meanwhile, the growing population of baby boomers will drive the growth of the need for health care, reports Will McClatchy for ETFZone. Spending is projected to climb from 16.3% of the GDP to 19.5% of the GDP by 2017. 

A Republican candidate may quietly tighten down on Medicare benefits to cut costs and increase profits, while a Democrat would push volume discounts. These and other health-care related ETFs could be affected no matter what happens next January:

  • Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV)
  • Pharmceutical HOLDRs (PPH)
  • iShares NASDAQ Biotechnology (IBB)
  • iShares Dow Jones US Health Care (IYH)
  • Vanguard Health Care (VHT)

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.