AMA issues statement on Anthem-Cigna court ruling

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The American Medical Association (AMA) distributed the following statement that is attributable to AMA President Andrew W. Gurman, M.D., on February 8…

“In a David vs. Goliath battle between consumers and mega insurers, a federal judge today ruled that Anthem’s proposed acquisition of Cigna poses a clear and present threat to the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the United States. The AMA applauds the fact-based ruling by Judge Amy Berman Jackson, which 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.

“Judge Jackson’s findings lay to rest the insurers’ spurious argument that the merger’s anticompetitive effects for consumers will be mitigated by promised efficiencies. The AMA agrees with Judge Jackson’s conclusion that Anthem’s strategy of gaining size to strong-arm physicians would not have benefited consumers. Instead, it would diminish prospects for innovation in health care delivery and payment.

“Today’s ruling is an important victory for consumers. Coupled with the recent court-imposed injunction on the Aetna-Humana merger, the rulings demonstrate the vital role the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and state attorneys general have in protecting patients and physicians from harmful mergers that substantially lessen competition in highly concentrated health insurance markets. The significant absence of health insurer competition in most markets is detrimental to patients and poses an important public policy problem.

“The AMA’s stand against this anticompetitive merger shows again that when doctors join together, the best outcome for patients and doctors can be achieved. But the fight against insurance market consolidation is far from over. The AMA will continue to vigorously oppose any health insurer mergers that will reduce competition and negatively impact physician markets and the quality of patient care.”