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This year’s Fortune 500 shows the strength of the US health care industry

Volunteers work in the pharmacy at the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
AP Photo/Bruce Smith
Boom times.
By Melvin Backman
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

This article has been corrected.

The annual celebration of capitalism known as the Fortune 500 just dropped, and there’s a few stirrings at the top of the famous list of big American businesses.

While the top five is unchanged from last year (Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobile, Chevron, Berkshire Hathaway, and Apple, in that order) dig deeper down into the top 20 and health care is looking ascendant. This isn’t a coincidence. The Affordable Care Act was a big bonus for the health care industry, swelling the ranks of insured Americans and spurring more demand for medical services.

Pharmacy chain CVS kicked Valero Energy out the top 10. Health care IT firm McKesson rose four spots to 11. And AmerisourceBergen, a drug supplier, shot up 12 spots to 16 after it closed a major deal with Walgreens that helped lower its generic drug acquisition costs. If you don’t mind a stretch, consider that Kroger, the supermarket chain, has now cracked the top 20. It got 8.3% of its overall from its pharmacy business last year, and that figure was up nearly 12% from the previous year.

Check out the rest of the top 20 below:

Wal-Mart
1
Exxon Mobil
2
Chevron
3
Berkshire Hathaway
4
Apple
5
General Motors
6
+1
Phillips 66
7
–1
General Electric
8
+1
Ford
9
–1
CVS Health
10
+2
McKesson
11
+4
AT&T
12
–1
Valero Energy
13
–3
UnitedHealth Group
14
Verizon
15
+1
AmerisourceBergen
16
+12
Fannie Mae
17
–4
Costco
18
+1
HP
19
–2
Kroger
20
+4

Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly ranked General Election as sixth on the 2015 Fortune 500. The company is ranked eighth.

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