Washington Post - A federal judge blocked the $54 billion merger between health insurance giants Anthem and Cigna on Wednesday, saying the deal would increase prices and reduce competition. It is the second recent court decision to uphold the Justice Department's opposition to deals that would have radically reshaped the health insurance landscape, consolidating the five largest insurers in the United States into three companies.
“The evidence has also shown that the merger is likely to result in higher prices, and that it will have other anti-competitive effects: it will eliminate the two firms’ vigorous competition against each other for national accounts, reduce the number of national carriers available to respond to solicitations in the future, and diminish the prospects for innovation in the market,” U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson wrote in a 12-page order.
The ruling follows a similar decision by a different judge to block the proposed $37 billion merger between Aetna and Humana last month. The Justice Department sued last summer to stop both mergers, and the judge's rulings in both cases are a clear affirmation of antitrust officials' argument that the deals would harm competition.