(Bloomberg) — The American Medical Association (AMA) asked U.S. antitrust regulators to block two proposed mergers that could reshape the health insurance industry.
Anthem Inc. (NYSE:ANTM) shouldn’t be permitted to buy Cigna Corp. (NYSE:CI), and Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) should be blocked from acquiring Humana Inc. (NYSE:HUM), the lobbying and professional organization for physicians said in a letter Wednesday to the head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division.
The AMA, as well as the American Hospital Association (AHA), have been critical of the proposed deals, saying they will reduce competition and could harm patient care. If approved, the deals would shrink the ranks of the biggest health insurers to three from five, potentially reducing options for private Medicare policies and coverage purchased by employers for their workers.
See also: Witness: New insurers shun U.S. commercial health market
“Fostering competition, not consolidation, benefits American consumers through lower prices, better quality, and greater choice,” James Madara, the AMA’s chief executive officer, said in the letter, which was sent to Assistant Attorney General William Baer.
“Our analyses of the proposed health insurance mergers reveal significant concerns with respect to the impact on consumers in terms of health care access, quality, and affordability,” Madara said.
Anthem said its deal with Cigna will improve consumer choice and quality and help keep down costs for patients.