American College of Physicians praises blocked health insurance merger
The American College of Physicians (ACP) praises the ruling by a federal judge yesterday that blocked a proposed merger between health insurers Aetna and Humana. The ruling over the potential impact on competition and insurance prices is a big "win" for patients and the physicians who care for them.
As a practicing primary care internist myself, I am relieved that the proposed merger will be blocked. This merger would have resulted in higher prices and less competition, and ultimately resulted in a strain on patients, both in their choice of insurance provider and in the cost that would be passed on to them.
ACP has stated its strong opposition to the proposed merger in a letter and subsequent conversations with Department of Justice (DOJ) officials, and in a position statement in 2015.
U.S. District Judge John Bates sided with the DOJ, saying the merger would reduce competition in the Medicare Advantage market and could also decrease competition in Affordable Care Act exchanges in some Florida markets.
The merger's potential benefits wouldn't mitigate the anticompetitive effects, Bates said in the ruling.
The Department of Justice joined ACP in praising the ruling as a win for consumers and patients.
A U.S. District Court is also considering a DOJ suit to block another proposed merger between Anthem and Cigna.
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States. ACP members include 148,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness.