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US: Democratic senators ask DoJ to block insurance mega-mergers

 |  June 22, 2016

Seven Democratic senators urged the US Justice Department on Wednesday to block two mergers of major health insurance companies, saying that the proposed deals would mean higher premiums and lower-quality healthcare for consumers.

The department is reviewing Aetna Inc’s $33 billion plan to buy Humana Inc and Anthem Inc’s $48 billion proposal to buy Cigna Corp. If approved, the deals, both of which were announced last July, would reduce the number of national health insurance carriers from five to three.

“We urge the DOJ to challenge these mergers from proceeding and to prevent the damage they would cause to competition and consumers,” wrote Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Al Franken of Minnesota, Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Dianne Feinstein of California and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.

The letter was dated Wednesday and addressed to Renata Hesse, who heads the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.

In the letter, the lawmakers said they were skeptical of the idea that the proposed deals would be good for consumers because the companies could use their larger size to hammer out better deals for patients.

Full Content: The CT Mirror

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