Man on a Wire: Bart Stupak Walks a Tight Line between Obamacare & Abortion Net Present Value (NPV) / MBA Resources

Introduction to Net Present Value (NPV) - What is Net Present Value (NPV) ? How it impacts financial decisions regarding project management?

NPV solution for Man on a Wire: Bart Stupak Walks a Tight Line between Obamacare & Abortion case study

At Oak Spring University, we provide corporate level professional Net Present Value (NPV) case study solution. Man on a Wire: Bart Stupak Walks a Tight Line between Obamacare & Abortion case study is a Harvard Business School (HBR) case study written by Christopher Robichaud, Pamela Varley. The Man on a Wire: Bart Stupak Walks a Tight Line between Obamacare & Abortion (referred as “Abortion Stupak” from here on) case study provides evaluation & decision scenario in field of Global Business. It also touches upon business topics such as - Value proposition, Health, Leadership, Negotiations.

The net present value (NPV) of an investment proposal is the present value of the proposal’s net cash flows less the proposal’s initial cash outflow. If a project’s NPV is greater than or equal to zero, the project should be accepted.

NPV = Present Value of Future Cash Flows LESS Project’s Initial Investment

Case Description of Man on a Wire: Bart Stupak Walks a Tight Line between Obamacare & Abortion Case Study

Set in 2009-2010, during the fractious U.S. Congressional debate over enacting the Obamacare health reform bill, this ethics case focuses on the choices and constraints facing Bart Stupak, a Democratic Congressman from Michigan's Upper Peninsula, who was both a dedicated advocate for healthcare reform and a lifelong opponent of abortion (as were the majority of voters in his rural, largely Catholic district). The case provides basic background about Stupak, his district, and the Obamacare debate but the heart of the story belongs to the abortion policy sub-plot of the larger healthcare reform drama, which culminated with the final, razor-close vote on the Affordable Care Act in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 21, 2010. At this critical moment, with the fate of the ACA hanging by a thread, the Democratic leadership pressed Stupak and his small group of pro-life House Democrats to abandon their controversial abortion stance and deliver their critically-needed votes to pass the Obamacare bill. At the same time, Stupak's traditional pro-life and Catholic supporters doubled-down on demands that he and his group hold the line, even if it meant dealing the death blow to health reform. Anti-Obamacare Republicans, meantime, maneuvered around the edges, seeking to leverage the abortion issue in a last-ditch effort to kill the bill. The case closely follows Stupak's own perceptions, conflicts, and choices as he tried to walk a middle path in this highly charged atmosphere. In the end, he made a deal with President Barack Obama, who agreed to put abortion restrictions in the form of an executive order in exchange for the support of Stupak and his bloc on the ACA.

Case Authors : Christopher Robichaud, Pamela Varley

Topic : Global Business

Related Areas : Health, Leadership, Negotiations

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 6% for Man on a Wire: Bart Stupak Walks a Tight Line between Obamacare & Abortion Case Study

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 6 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10008561) -10008561 - -
Year 1 3472372 -6536189 3472372 0.9434 3275823
Year 2 3959855 -2576334 7432227 0.89 3524257
Year 3 3975519 1399185 11407746 0.8396 3337922
Year 4 3228253 4627438 14635999 0.7921 2557079
TOTAL 14635999 12695081

The Net Present Value at 6% discount rate is 2686520

In isolation the NPV number doesn't mean much but put in right context then it is one of the best method to evaluate project returns. In this article we will cover -

Different methods of capital budgeting

What is NPV & Formula of NPV,
How it is calculated,
How to use NPV number for project evaluation, and
Scenario Planning given risks and management priorities.

Capital Budgeting Approaches

Methods of Capital Budgeting

There are four types of capital budgeting techniques that are widely used in the corporate world –

1. Internal Rate of Return
2. Payback Period
3. Net Present Value
4. Profitability Index

Apart from the Payback period method which is an additive method, rest of the methods are based on Discounted Cash Flow technique. Even though cash flow can be calculated based on the nature of the project, for the simplicity of the article we are assuming that all the expected cash flows are realized at the end of the year.

Discounted Cash Flow approaches provide a more objective basis for evaluating and selecting investment projects. They take into consideration both –

1. Magnitude of both incoming and outgoing cash flows – Projects can be capital intensive, time intensive, or both. Abortion Stupak shareholders have preference for diversified projects investment rather than prospective high income from a single capital intensive project.
2. Timing of the expected cash flows – stockholders of Abortion Stupak have higher preference for cash returns over 4-5 years rather than 10-15 years given the nature of the volatility in the industry.

Formula and Steps to Calculate Net Present Value (NPV) of Man on a Wire: Bart Stupak Walks a Tight Line between Obamacare & Abortion

NPV = Net Cash In Flowt1 / (1+r)t1 + Net Cash In Flowt2 / (1+r)t2 + … Net Cash In Flowtn / (1+r)tn
Less Net Cash Out Flowt0 / (1+r)t0

Where t = time period, in this case year 1, year 2 and so on.
r = discount rate or return that could be earned using other safe proposition such as fixed deposit or treasury bond rate. Net Cash In Flow – What the firm will get each year.
Net Cash Out Flow – What the firm needs to invest initially in the project.

Step 1 – Understand the nature of the project and calculate cash flow for each year.
Step 2 – Discount those cash flow based on the discount rate.
Step 3 – Add all the discounted cash flow.
Step 4 – Selection of the project

Why Global Business Managers need to know Financial Tools such as Net Present Value (NPV)?

In our daily workplace we often come across people and colleagues who are just focused on their core competency and targets they have to deliver. For example marketing managers at Abortion Stupak often design programs whose objective is to drive brand awareness and customer reach. But how that 30 point increase in brand awareness or 10 point increase in customer touch points will result into shareholders’ value is not specified.

To overcome such scenarios managers at Abortion Stupak needs to not only know the financial aspect of project management but also needs to have tools to integrate them into part of the project development and monitoring plan.

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 15%

After working through various assumptions we reached a conclusion that risk is far higher than 6%. In a reasonably stable industry with weak competition - 15% discount rate can be a good benchmark.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 15 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10008561) -10008561 - -
Year 1 3472372 -6536189 3472372 0.8696 3019454
Year 2 3959855 -2576334 7432227 0.7561 2994219
Year 3 3975519 1399185 11407746 0.6575 2613968
Year 4 3228253 4627438 14635999 0.5718 1845764
TOTAL 10473406

The Net NPV after 4 years is 464845

(10473406 - 10008561 )

Calculating Net Present Value (NPV) at 20%

If the risk component is high in the industry then we should go for a higher hurdle rate / discount rate of 20%.

Years              Cash Flow     Net Cash Flow     Cumulative    
Cash Flow
Discount Rate
@ 20 %
Cash Flows
Year 0 (10008561) -10008561 - -
Year 1 3472372 -6536189 3472372 0.8333 2893643
Year 2 3959855 -2576334 7432227 0.6944 2749899
Year 3 3975519 1399185 11407746 0.5787 2300648
Year 4 3228253 4627438 14635999 0.4823 1556835
TOTAL 9501025

The Net NPV after 4 years is -507536

At 20% discount rate the NPV is negative (9501025 - 10008561 ) so ideally we can't select the project if macro and micro factors don't allow financial managers of Abortion Stupak to discount cash flow at lower discount rates such as 15%.

Acceptance Criteria of a Project based on NPV

Simplest Approach – If the investment project of Abortion Stupak has a NPV value higher than Zero then finance managers at Abortion Stupak can ACCEPT the project, otherwise they can reject the project. This means that project will deliver higher returns over the period of time than any alternate investment strategy.

In theory if the required rate of return or discount rate is chosen correctly by finance managers at Abortion Stupak, then the stock price of the Abortion Stupak should change by same amount of the NPV. In real world we know that share price also reflects various other factors that can be related to both macro and micro environment.

In the same vein – accepting the project with zero NPV should result in stagnant share price. Finance managers use discount rates as a measure of risk components in the project execution process.

Sensitivity Analysis

Project selection is often a far more complex decision than just choosing it based on the NPV number. Finance managers at Abortion Stupak should conduct a sensitivity analysis to better understand not only the inherent risk of the projects but also how those risks can be either factored in or mitigated during the project execution. Sensitivity analysis helps in –

Understanding of risks involved in the project.

What are the uncertainties surrounding the project Initial Cash Outlay (ICO’s). ICO’s often have several different components such as land, machinery, building, and other equipment.

What are the key aspects of the projects that need to be monitored, refined, and retuned for continuous delivery of projected cash flows.

What will be a multi year spillover effect of various taxation regulations.

What can impact the cash flow of the project.

Some of the assumptions while using the Discounted Cash Flow Methods –

Projects are assumed to be Mutually Exclusive – This is seldom the came in modern day giant organizations where projects are often inter-related and rejecting a project solely based on NPV can result in sunk cost from a related project.

Independent projects have independent cash flows – As explained in the marketing project – though the project may look independent but in reality it is not as the brand awareness project can be closely associated with the spending on sales promotions and product specific advertising.

Negotiation Strategy of Man on a Wire: Bart Stupak Walks a Tight Line between Obamacare & Abortion

References & Further Readings

Christopher Robichaud, Pamela Varley (2018), "Man on a Wire: Bart Stupak Walks a Tight Line between Obamacare & Abortion Harvard Business Review Case Study. Published by HBR Publications.