AMA applauds ruling to uphold rejection of Anthem-Cigna merger

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The American Medical Association distributed the following press release on April 28…

The American Medical Association (AMA) today applauded the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upholding a lower court ruling halting the proposed $54 billion mega insurance merger between Anthem and Cigna. The AMA represented patient and physician voices, submitting an amicus brief to the appellate court in support of preserving the merger injunction issued in February. As the AMA has long observed, and as the trial court found, this merger would harm patients because it would likely lead to higher premiums, eliminate the existing head-to-head competition between Anthem and Cigna, reduce the number of national carriers from four to three, and diminish innovation. Unchallenged by today’s Court of Appeals ruling, these findings validate AMA’s ongoing concerns with highly concentrated health insurance markets.

“The appellate court sent a clear message to the health insurance industry:  a merger that smothers competition and choice, raises premiums and reduces quality and innovation is inherently harmful to patients and physicians,” said AMA President Andrew W. Gurman, M.D. “The result of 21 months of advocacy before the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), congressional leaders, state attorneys general, insurance commissioners, and federal court, this outcome shows again that when doctors join together, the best outcome for patients and doctors can be achieved.”

Barring an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, today’s decision concludes a successful campaign by the AMA and 17 state medical societies – on behalf of patients and physicians – to stop the Anthem-Cigna merger. In September 2015, soon after the merger was proposed, the AMA released Competition in Health Insurance, an annual analysis of insurance markets that showed nearly half of all states could see diminished competition in local health insurance markets if the Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana mega-mergers were allowed to proceed. That same month, AMA leaders testified before Congress regarding the mergers. They argued for more choices for patients for health care services and coverage, and for close scrutiny of the proposed mergers, respectively. Two months later, the AMA outlined detailed concerns with further market consolidation and urged the DOJ to block the proposed mergers.