Stocks gain after midterm election results

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NEW YORK - The outcome of the midterm elections was good for the stock market in general, mostly because it didn't produce any big surprises, but it was especially good for the health care industry and several other companies.

Health insurers rose sharply Wednesday as investors anticipated that any prospects of repealing the Affordable Care Act, which expanded health insurance to millions of Americans, diminished greatly now that Democrats control the House of Representatives.

Marijuana companies soared after several states voted to partly legalize pot, oil and gas companies benefited from the defeat of a ballot measure in Colorado that might have restricted drilling, and a dialysis services company rocketed higher after California voters rejected a measure that would have capped the profits of dialysis clinics.

Health insurers, hospital operators and companies that run Medicaid health programs all jumped. Democrats' victory in the House means Republicans won't be able to pass legislation repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act, a goal for the party ever since the law was passed during President Barack Obama's first term.

The bill expanded health insurance coverage, and the election results mean more stability for insurers and more reimbursement for hospitals.

Voters in Idaho and Nebraska approved expansions of the federal-state Medicaid program, which provides benefits to poor and disabled people. Winning gubernatorial candidates in Maine and Kansas also support expanding Medicaid benefits to more people.