Antitrust Law

US sues to block two major health-insurer mergers, would like cases tried together

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The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday filed antitrust lawsuits seeking to block two major health-insurer mergers.

The suits challenge Anthem Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Cigna Corp. and Aetna Inc.’s planned merger with Humana Inc., report the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.), the Washington Post and

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that the deals, if allowed to proceed, “would leave much of the multitrillion-dollar health insurance industry in the hands of three mammoth insurance companies.”

The Justice Department would like to consolidate the two cases for trial before the same judge, according to the Wall Street Journal. Both suits cite the anticompetitive impact of eliminating both Cigna and Humana.

The Justice Department is making a strong case by evaluating the mergers together, according to Thomas Greaney, the co-director of the Center for Health Law Studies at Saint Louis University. “There is a tactical advantage to having both cases go on at the same time,” he told the New York Times.

Aetna chief executive Mark Bertolini pledged to oppose the suit. “I like my chances in front of a judge,” he told the New York Times.

Anthem said in a statement that it was “fully committed” to fighting the lawsuit.

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