Shares of U.S. hospital operators have been on a tear this year, on average posting triple the gains of the broader stock market, as investors tallied up the benefits of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, Reuters reported. Long-term investors see more reward than risk on the horizon for hospital stocks. They expect company earnings to strengthen as more Americans gain insurance coverage and hospitals lose less money treating the uninsured. The reform law has spurred consolidation among hospitals, and further merger activity could lift valuations. Since the start of the year, shares of the largest publicly traded hospital chain, HCA Holdings Inc., are up 34 percent and No. 2 Community Health has climbed 71 percent. Tenet Healthcare Corp. and Universal Health Services Inc. each have risen 50 percent, Reuters said. The Standard and Poor's 500 index, by comparison, has risen 15 percent. Read more.