Why Hospitals and the AMA are Against the Anthem-Cigna & Aetna-Humana Mergers
The pending mergers of Anthem and Cigna as well as Aetna and Humana, are something hospitals across the country hope they can prevent as they continue to apply pressure to the Justice Department to put a stop to the deals.
Hospitals said the mergers would give undo strength to Blue Cross Blue Shield, an independent association of insurers and give the insurers more power to potentially undercut competition and increase prices for hospitals, physicians, and consumers.
The American Medical Association also sided with hospitals and asked regulators to halt the mergers in a letter to the Justice Department. In findings based on analysis of data compiled in the 2015 AMA’s Competition in Health Insurance: A Comprehensive Study of U.S Markets, 17 states have been identified has having areas where market power is likely to increase as a result of the merger, according to federal guidelines measuring competitiveness. Overall, the report indicated that the mergers could adversely affect competition in 23 states and 154 metropolitan areas.
According to the report, the Anthem –Cigna Merger would impact markets in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. The Aetna-Humana merger would similarly impact Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and West Virginia
Most experts agree that the catalyst for the merger-surge was the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the continuation of Obamacare subsidies.
The Justice Department’s antitrust division is set to hear the issue on March 9, 2016 in Washington, DC.