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HomeFocus → AMA: Court Order in Aetna-Humana Merger Halts a Bad Deal for Elderly Patients

AMA: Court Order in Aetna-Humana Merger Halts a Bad Deal for Elderly Patients Print E-mail
Written by Andrew W. Gurman, MD, President | American Medical Association   
Monday, 23 January 2017 00:00

Elderly patients were the big winners today <1.23.17> as a federal court imposed an injunction on Aetna's $37 billion acquisition of Humana. The court ruling halts Aetna's bid to become the nation's largest seller of Medicare Advantage plans and preserves the benefits of health insurer competition for a vulnerable population of seniors.

Aetna's strategy to eliminate head-to-head competition with rival Humana posed a clear and present threat to the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care for millions of seniors. The AMA applauds the extraordinarily well documented, comprehensive, fact-based ruling of U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, which acknowledged that meaningful action was needed to preserve competition and protect high-quality medical care from unprecedented market power that Aetna would acquire from the merger deal. Importantly, Judge Bates further concluded that the merger would unlawfully restrain competition in the sale of individual commercial insurance on the public exchanges in three counties in Florida identified in the complaint.

The court's ruling sets a notable legal precedent by recognizing Medicare Advantage as a separate and distinct market that does not compete with traditional Medicare. This was a view advocated by the AMA, as well as leading economists. AMA also applauds the decision for protecting competition on the public exchanges.

The AMA's stand against this anti-competitive merger shows again that when doctors join together, the best outcome for patients and doctors can be achieved. Given the troubling consolidation trends in health insurance industry, the AMA will continue to advocate on behalf of patients and physicians to foster more competitive health insurance markets.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 January 2017 19:43
 


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