Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress issued the following statement on the news that the U.S. Department of Justice, or DOJ, is suing to block the two proposed health insurance company mergers between Anthem Inc. and Cigna Corp. and Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc.
The following CAP experts are available for interviews to discuss the DOJ’s decision, health care mergers, and antitrust issues: Topher Spiro, Vice President for Health Policy, and Andy Green, Managing Director for Economic Policy.
Topher Spiro, Vice President for Health Policy, said:
In its decision to sue to block the mergers, the Department of Justice recognized that the health—both physical and financial—of the American people is at stake. Across the health care sector, mergers tend to drive up costs for consumers and businesses, as well as contribute to rising income inequality. These mergers, which would have consolidated the five big insurers down to three, would have irreversibly transformed and destabilized the health care landscape at a critical juncture.
While there likely will be more proposed health care mergers to come, policymakers can take steps to ensure that consumers and taxpayers are protected. Regulators should review the results of previous mergers on a regular basis, and they should hold public hearings and issue public findings around their reviews of proposed mergers. The nation also needs an independent health consumer advocate to monitor trends in the health care markets and represent the public’s interest during merger reviews. Most importantly, regulators must set a high bar, as the DOJ has done today, when it comes to health care mergers.
In January, CAP conducted an analysis that found the proposed Aetna and Humana merger would greatly reduce market competition for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries in the markets they serve. In March, CAP found that divestitures in a 2012 merger between Humana and Arcadian Management Services Inc. failed to restore competition and that seniors paid higher premiums for the divested plans. And in June, CAP published a new report that offers a series of recommendations specifically targeted at reinvigorating antitrust enforcement, including a set of reforms designed to reinvigorate competition policy and increase the real incomes of ordinary American households.
For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Liz Bartolomeo at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.481.8151.