The AMA’s president has lauded a federal judge’s decision earlier this week that stopped Anthem’s proposed acquisition of Cigna.
If the plans had moved forward, it would have been a “clear and present threat” to affordable, accessible and quality health care, Andrew W. Gurman, MD, said in a statement.
“[This week’s ruling] … stopped in its tracks the creation of an immense corporate entity that would have been too big to regulate with virtually unlimited power over the health care of millions of consumers,” Gurman stated.
He said AMA anticipates future acquisition attempts like the Anthem-Cigna one, and the organization is prepared to fight when it deems appropriate.
“[We] will continue to vigorously oppose any health insurer mergers that will reduce competition and negatively impact physician markets and the quality of patient care,” Gurman stated.
Last summer, with AMA support, the U.S. Department of Justice, along with attorneys general and several states, sued to block the mergers between Anthem Cigna as well as Aetna and Humana. The federal agency had alleged that if the mergers went through the number of large, national health insurers in the United States would be reduced from five to three and that “[these] transactions would increase concentration and harm competition across the country”.
At the time of the lawsuit’s filing, Anthem issued a press release saying the lawsuit was “an unfortunate and misguided step backwards for access to affordable health care for America.”
An AMA analysis published last fall indicated had the acquisition gone through, it would reduce competition in more than 100 metropolitan areas and more than a dozen states where Anthem is licensed to provide coverage.
Disclosure: Gurman is president of AMA.