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 WaldenOvernight Energy: EPA expands use of pesticide it considers 'highly toxic' to bees | House passes defense bill with measure targeting 'forever chemicals' | Five things to watch as Barry barrels through the Gulf House passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker MORE (R-Ore.), the committee’s ranking member Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHere are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Overnight Energy: USDA expected to lose two-thirds of research staff in move west | EPA hails Trump's work on reducing air pollution | Agency eyes reducing inspections of nuclear reactors Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers struggle to understand Facebook's Libra project | EU hits Amazon with antitrust probe | New cybersecurity concerns over census | Robocall, election security bills head to House floor | Privacy questions over FaceApp 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.”