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.
Robert J. Mills
AMA Media & Editorial