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News & Press: National

Physicians Stand Up Against Mergers of Powerful Insurers

Thursday, November 12, 2015  
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From the AMA Wire

Two marriages are in the works among the nation’s largest health insurers—and physicians are speaking up, refusing to forever hold their peace. The proposed mergers, which would reduce competition in the health insurance market, pose a substantial risk of harm to patients and physicians in terms of health care access, quality and affordability.

Health insurers have claimed that the mergers—Aetna’s acquisition of Humana and Anthem’s acquisition of Cigna—will lead to greater efficiencies and innovative payment and care management programs. But is the claim based on fact?

“There is no evidence supporting the insurers’ claim,” the AMA said in a letter delivered to the U.S. Assistant Attorney General earlier this week The letter points to studies and analyses that speak to how the opposite is often the case.

The mergers would exceed federal antitrust guidelines put in place to preserve competition around the country. According to special AMA analyses released in September, the proposed mergers of Anthem and Cigna and of Aetna and Humana would exceed federal antitrust guidelines designed to preserve competition in as many as 97 metropolitan areas within 17 states. The mergers also would raise significant competitive concerns in additional areas. All told, nearly one-half of all states could see reduced competition in local health insurance markets.

The AMA letter urges the Department of Justice to “block the proposed mergers,” emphasizing that “fostering competition, not consolidation, benefits American consumers through lower prices, better quality and greater choice.”

Read the entire article.

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