Judge blocks Anthem-Cigna insurer merger

Judge blocks Anthem-Cigna insurer merger
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A federal judge on Wednesday blocked the proposed $48 billion merger of two of the nation’s largest health insurers, Anthem and Cigna.

The move is the second recent large health insurance merger to be blocked, following a judge stopping the merger of Aetna and Humana last month. 

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The judge on Wednesday blocked the merger with a focus on the reduction in competition that would occur in the market for employer-sponsored health insurance. 

The blocking of the two mergers is a win for consumer advocates who argued the combinations of the large insurance companies would harmfully reduce competition. 

The American Medical Association hailed the decision as an "important victory for consumers." 

"The AMA agrees with Judge [Amy Berman] 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," AMA President Andrew Gurman said.

When the mergers were announced last year, Republicans argued that pressures from ObamaCare were forcing the consolidation. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios House rejects GOP effort to seat McCarthy's picks for Jan. 6 panel Senators scramble to save infrastructure deal MORE (R-Ky.) last year called the Aetna-Humana merger “the inevitable result of Obamacare’s push toward consolidation as doctors, hospitals, and insurers merge in response to an ever-growing government.”