AMA Applauds DOJ Effort to Block the Creation of Two Health Insurer Goliaths

Statement attributed to: Andrew W. Gurman, M.D., President, American Medical Association

“The American Medical Association applauds the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for fighting to protect patients and physicians from a health insurance system dominated by a few corporate Goliaths with unprecedented market power. Patients are better served in a health care system that promotes competition and choice.

“The prospect of reducing five national health insurance carriers to just three is unacceptable. Given the mergers’ potential to significantly compromise market competition, the AMA strongly supports the antitrust challenge from federal regulators.

“Today’s action by the DOJ acknowledges the AMA’s concern that patients’ interests can be harmed when big insurers acquire rivals and develop strangleholds on local markets. Allowing commercial health insurers to become too big and exert control over the delivery of health care would be bad for patients and vitality of the nation’s health care system.

“With existing competition in health insurance markets already at alarmingly low levels, federal officials have a strong obligation to enforce antitrust laws that prohibit harmful mergers and foster a more competitive market place that will operate in the patients’ best interests.”

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Editor’s Note: The AMA previously presented strong evidence to state and federal officials documenting the lack of competition in the health insurance industry and the ramifications for patient care.

September 8, 2015: AMA issued special analyses showing that the combined impact of proposed of Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana mergers would exceed federal antitrust guidelines designed to preserve competition in as many as 97 metropolitan areas within 17 states.

September 10, 2015: AMA Board of Trustees Member Barbara L. McAneny, M.D., delivered testimony at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on the state of competition in the health care marketplace, where she told members of Congress, “Providing patients with more choices for health care services and coverage stimulates innovation and incentivizes improved care, lower costs and expanded access.”

September 29, 2015: AMA President-elect Andrew W. Gurman, M.D., testified before members of the House Judiciary Committee on examining the proposed health insurance mergers and the consequent impact on competition, where he urged federal and state regulators, “to closely scrutinize the proposed health insurer mergers and utilize enforcement tools to protect consumers and preserve competition.”

November 11, 2015: The AMA delivered its findings to the DOJ and urged the federal government to block the proposed Aetna-Humana and Anthem-Cigna mergers.

March 14, 2016: AMA joined forces with the Florida Medical Association and Florida Osteopathic Medical Association in a letter to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi asking her to reject the proposed Aetna-Humana merger. The letter was also shared with the DOJ.

March 29, 2016: AMA testified before the California Department of Insurance to oppose the proposed Anthem-Cigna merger.

Media Contact:
Robert J. Mills
AMA Media & Editorial
(312) 464-5970
robert.mills@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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