February 9, 2017

Courts rediscover anti-trust laws

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.


Anonymous said...

Antitrust rules have hardly changed since the Reagan era, however, interpretation as to how the rules apply has been variable. In short, antitrust enforcement has been largely determined by the priorities of whatever administration in power at the moment. The rash of multi-billion dollar mega-mergers over the past eight years have set records as to number, values involved, and extent of resulting market consolidation. This, it should be point out, during the Obama administration. The hysterics over the potential actions of a Trump administration may or may not be necessarily all that valid, however, those actions of Obama are now a matter of record and must not be denied. Scream all you want about Trump being the corporatist, truth is he'll have a ways to go before he even begins to match the corporate sycophancy of Obama.

Mary said...

Regards to courts decision to block merger as above. First good news since November 8, 2016.

Anonymous said...


Have you been paying attention to 45's first 3 weeks? He's done plenty to prove he is more a threat to the US then Obama ever was. The big difference is Obama understood the complexities of the job and knew that his advisers were there to help him. Yes, his pro corporate agenda was awful, his drone strikes were good way to create more terrorists, and he continued the same policies of corporate mergers and privatization that have gone on since Reagan.

I have little good to say about Obama, but in only 3 weeks 45 has shown that he doesn't understand the nature of the job. He is bored with important briefings, and goes dangerously off script when meeting with heads of other nations, like threatening to invade Mexico. 45 doesn't read the unconstitutional executive orders he signs, he didn't know he was putting Bannon on the NSC until days later. He seems to think he and his family can use the oval office to make money, like the whole Nordstrom's/Ivanka's jewelry idiocy or Meliana's lawsuit saying being called a "former escort" damages her chances to profit off being "First Lady".

45 still has too deep of connections to his business, as he gave free accommodations to the Japanese prime minister saying this would avoid conflicts of interest, it doesn't. His ties to Putin which made him shut off the recording of his call to the russian leader. The Russian hacking of the election, his war mongering, his lies to try to paint the nation as awash in violent crime when violent crime is at low levels, except for police shooting citizens. All his other lies, his general sexism, racism, and contempt for working people. 45 doesn't need more time to prove he's a menace in the office. Concerns about 45 are not hysterics, it's a reasonable response to the illegal, unconstitutional, plain malicious stupidity and corruption 45 has brought to the White House.