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California Insurance Commissioner Urges DOJ to Block Aetna, CVS Merger

The California insurance commissioner, who has spoken out against other large healthcare mergers, this week asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to block the $69 billion deal combining Aetna with CVS Health.
Published Online: Aug 06,2018
Allison Inserro
The California insurance commissioner, who has spoken out against other large healthcare mergers, this week asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to block the $69 billion deal combining Aetna with CVS Health.

In his letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Dave Jones cited several areas of concern and said the proposed deal is anticompetitive, and, if allowed to go through, would forever end the ability of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to operate as single entities in the state.

CVS owns the PBM Caremark, and the merger will substantially enhance market concentration and power in the PBM space, as well as Medicare Part D markets, he said.

A merger of this size and type will likely lead to increased prices and decreased quality, he said, citing experts on health insurer and healthcare mergers.

In addition, a partial sale or other remedies traditionally used by the DOJ will not go far enough to protect the public or address the adverse consequences, such as charging excessive rates, or the “creation of barriers to block a potential market participant with the resources to enter into new markets,” he wrote.

Click to continue reading on The American Journal of Managed Care.