Top House Dem calls for probe into CVS-Aetna merger

Top House Dem calls for probe into CVS-Aetna merger
© Greg Nash

A top House Democrat is calling for a hearing to examine the merger between CVS and Aetna.

In a letter to House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenDominant internet platforms must disrupt themselves Hammond pardons raise fears of emboldened anti-government extremists Oregon ranchers pardoned by Trump fly home on Pence donor's private jet MORE (R-Ore.), the committee’s ranking member Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneTop Dems urge Trump officials to reverse suspension of ObamaCare payments FCC passes controversial rule changing how it handles consumer complaints Overnight Health Care: Dem demands details on Trump-Pfizer pricing deal | Why both sides agree nominee could shift high court to right on abortion | DEA gets more powers to limit opioid production MORE (D-N.J.) asked for a hearing on the merger as soon as possible.

“As the business of healthcare continues to morph, it is critical that Congress closely examine the changing relationships among healthcare entities and the impact these changing relationships have on the way healthcare is delivered in this country,” Pallone wrote.

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If approved, the $69 billion merger of the nation’s largest pharmacy and third-largest health insurer could have major implications for the health-care industry.

The companies are arguing that when merged, they will be able to improve health outcomes and reduce costs by integrating the pharmacy and insurer. They are promising significant changes to the business of health-care delivery.

There has been an increasing trend of insurers wanting to partner with pharmacy benefit managers, as seen by UnitedHealth’s purchase of OptumRx.

Amazon's rumored interest in entering into the pharmaceutical supply industry has loomed as a potential motivator of the merger, which Pallone noted in his request.

“Increasingly, health systems are offering health insurance and insurers are buying or partnering with health care providers,” Pallone wrote. “In addition, large corporations such as Amazon are considering pharmacy or healthcare operations, expanding their businesses in completely new directions.”