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WellPoint, Inc. (WLP), Aetna Inc. (AET): Is Welfare Becoming a for-Profit Business?

Another winner under this scenario would be the nation’s prison system. Even as some states begin to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in a person’s home, the federal government still views it as an illegal substance.

Source: California Department of Corrections.

The premise here would be that any increase in nationwide drug testing would be bound to turn up additional drug users and could boost the prison population. That would be great news for the The Geo Group, Inc. (NYSE:GEO) and Corrections Corp Of America (NYSE:CXW), which are contracted out through the government to run and service prisons around the country.

Finally, legal alternatives to “getting high” should see a boost — namely, spirit producers. Since most drugs are traceable in the human body for weeks and alcohol tends to leave your system long before 24 hours is up, domestic beer behemoths such as Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ADR) (NYSE:BUD) and Molson Coors Brewing Company (NYSE:TAP), as well as hard-liquor producers such as Brown-Forman Corporation (NYSE:BF.A), the maker of Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort, should be primed to benefit. For the domestic beer producers, this would be an incredibly welcome sign, as stagnant take-home pay has weighed heavily on beer consumption.

Where do we go from here?
There’s no question in my mind that these industry groups would benefit from expanded welfare drug screening. The question comes down to whether it’s ethical and worth spending the added government funds and resources on expanding this program to additional states. Furthermore, aside from the health-benefits industry, should businesses in these industries be gearing up for increased testing to essentially “stay ahead of the curve?” Sound off with your thoughts in the comments section below.

The article Is Welfare Becoming a for-Profit Business? originally appeared on

Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.The Motley Fool owns shares of WellPoint and recommends Corrections Corporation of America, Molson Coors, UnitedHealth Group, and WellPoint.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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