AMA: California Insurance Commissioner Takes Right Approach to Protect State from Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana Mergers

Statement attributed to Andrew W, Gurman, President, American Medical Association

“The American Medical Association applauds California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones for taking a strong stand to prevent a near total collapse of competition in the state’s health insurance market. He has taken the right approach to protect California by opposing the Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana mergers.

“The AMA agrees with Commissioner Jones that the mergers would very likely raise premiums above competitive levels and reduce the quality of health care. He was also right in finding that any efficiency savings achieved in the mergers would not likely be passed along to patients. His finding is supported by economic studies suggesting that health insurance companies use monopoly power gained from mergers to charge higher prices for health insurance.

"The AMA commends the Commissioner for acknowledging the evidence physicians and others presented demonstrating that the proposed mergers would likely enhance market power or raise significant competitive concerns in most of California metropolitan areas. Last March, the AMA testified before the Commissioner and warned that granting anticompetitive market power to any health insurance company would have long-term consequences for California's health care delivery system that would threaten health care access, quality and affordability.”

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AMA Media & Editorial
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The American Medical Association is the premier national organization dedicated to empowering the nation’s physicians to continually provide safer, higher quality, and more efficient care to patients and communities. For more than 165 years the AMA has been unwavering in its commitment to using its unique position and knowledge to shape a healthier future for America. For more information, visit ama-assn.org .

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About the American Medical Association (AMA) Since 1847 the American Medical Association has had one mission: to promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health. Today, the core strategy used to carry out this mission is our concerted effort to help doctors help patients. We do this by uniting physicians nationwide to work on the most important professional and public health issues. In 2011 our strategic plan focuses on five areas that encompass the central elements in health system reform: Access to care Quality of care Cost of health care Prevention and wellness Payment models Vist the AMA's 2011 strategic plan at: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/about-ama/strategic-issues.page These topics represent the major areas of emphasis in which the AMA carries out its mission in the current environment. Our proposed actions are not only directed at solving reform issues at the policy level, but also at helping physicians adapt to—and adopt—changes in a productive way. To learn more about how the AMA is moving medicine forward, read our flyer at: http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/about-ama/moving-medicine-forward.pdf.

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