July 25 (Reuters) - HCA Healthcare Inc, the largest U.S. for-profit hospital operator, reported a lower-than-expected profit for the second straight quarter, hurt by higher expenses.
The company's stock was down 4 percent in premarket trading.
Shares of hospital operators have been volatile as Republicans attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, raising concerns that a healthcare overhaul will curtail the benefits hospitals have gained from expanded insurance coverage.
President Donald Trump made a last-ditch plea on Monday to U.S. Senate Republicans to "do the right thing" and fulfill campaign promises to repeal and replace Obamacare. The Senate will vote on Tuesday whether to open debate on an overhaul of the law.
Net income attributable came in at $657 million, or $1.75 per share, in the second quarter ended June 30, compared with $658 million, or $1.65 per share, a year earlier.
Analysts' average estimate was $1.80 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Salaries and benefits, supplies and other operating expenses rose 4.6 percent to $8.66 billion, the company said.
HCA Healthcare, which operates 172 hospitals and 119 freestanding surgery centers, reported a 4 percent growth in revenue at $10.73 billion, but was below analysts' estimate of $10.85 billion.
The company said its equivalent admissions, which include patients who stay in the hospital overnight and those who are treated on an outpatient basis, rose 1.3 percent in the quarter. (Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)