Health care justice advocates are properly celebrating a big win. The U.S. Department of Justice filed anti-trust lawsuits on July 21st to block the health insurance mega-mergers sought by Aetna and Anthem in their attempted acquisition of Cigna and Humana respectively. Lots of groups all over the country with assistance from lawyers and key public officials worked together very effectively to win this battle and we deserve to celebrate.
Take a look at this piece from the insurance capital of the country, Hartford, CT: “U.S. Suing To Bock Aetna-Humana and Anthem-Cigna Mergers.”
Here are some of the highlights that led to the DOJ lawsuit:
Letter from 43 consumer and advocacy organizations and medical societies expressing grave concerns to DOJ (6/29/16)
The DOJ quickly responded to the letter with a call to the lead signers. Many thanks to the groups who signed on — you had an impact!
David Sirota, Senior Investigations Editor for International Business Times, wrote a series of articles exposing the behind-the-scenes political donations and conflict-of-interest involved in moving the mergers forward, especially in the state of Connecticut. Here’s the latest:
“Anthem-Cigna Deal: Seeking Merger approval, Anthem Makes Major Donations To State Political Groups”
Now what? What do we do after the celebration? Get ready for the next round of battles over consolidations in the health care industry, because we know the next round is coming. Hospital systems are growing everywhere and buying up doctor groups, all with the goal of domination of a geographic area. And the insurance companies will both fight these lawsuits and are already coming up with new ways to structure mergers. Check this out: “U.S. government’s bid to block insurance mergers could spawn new ones.” (Reuters, 7/22/16)
In other words, we all need to be ready to mobilize opposition again and again. UHCAN congratulates all those who stepped up this time. We will continue to keep the focus on all the wheeling and dealing of the health care profiteers on our monthly calls and in our action alerts.
RNC Update: UHCAN was proud to be the fiscal sponsor for “Rust Belt Medics” during the RNC in Cleveland. Their efforts were well received by protesters, by-standers and the media. Here’s one article from the Cincinnati Enquirer: “In Cleveland, Street Medics Prowl to Help” http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/politics/2016/07/20/cleveland-street-medics-prowl-help/87334978/
Note: This is a slightly expanded version of a 7/25/16 alert.