The American Medical Association (AMA), the Florida Medical Association and the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association are calling on Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to refuse the intended merger of health insurer giants Aetna and Humana, in accordance to a March 14 issue from the AMA.
The anti-competitive consequences of the merger would adversely impact healthcare access, quality and affordability in the state of Florida, the physician agencies claimed in the March 11 letter from American Medical Association CEO and Executive Vice President James Madara, MD. AMA analysis discovered the merger would run afoul of federal antitrust instructions in largely populated metropolitan places in the state of Florida, he claimed.
19 of Florida’s metropolitan places have 2 health insurers with nearly a 50% share of the commercial health insurance market, in accordance to AMA analysis.
The letter follows a Feb. 11 consent order by the organization of Florida Office of Insurance Regulation approving, with situations, Aetna’s acquisition of Humana’s links in the state.
Conditions involved Aetna extending its operations in underserved counties, widening operations on the federally facilitated marketplace into 5 latest counties by the year 2018, and offering a plan for statewide expansion by the year 2020, in accordance to the consent order.
Although, the consent order depends on flawed arguments that regulation can be a substitute for competition, the letter claims.
“The OIR (Office of Insurance Regulators) seems to have been grabbed by Aetna’s faulty arguments that existing state and federal regulation … often solve the competitive uncertainties and justify very restricted remedies that are highly illusory,” the letter claims.
In making its decision, insurance regulators in the state of Florida also erroneously summarized that Medicare Advantage isn’t a relevant product market when they claimed the federal government’s conventional Medicare program is in straight competition with Medicare Advantage, Madara claimed.
“Sadly, in shaping its remedies, the OIR erroneously deferred to the character of regulation in health insurance as a substitute for lost competition,” he stated. “Subsequently, we respectfully appeal that your office secures competition by blocking out the merger.”
Aetna’s intended $37 billion offer to gain Humana, as well as Anthem’s intended $54 billion deal to take over Cigna, are presently under federal consideration by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Aetna and Humana shareholders passed the intended acquisition in the month of October 2015.
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