Statement attributed to:
Andrew W. Gurman, M.D.
President, American Medical Association

“The nation’s slide toward health insurance monopolies will be contested in federal court today as the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and a bipartisan group of state attorneys general launch an unprecedented court challenge against a merger deal involving two of the few remaining national health insurance companies.

“Competition and choice hang in balance as the court begins to weigh the impact of the proposed deal between Anthem and Cigna. This potential mega-merger is the latest in a series that has allowed a few publicly-traded companies to gain a stranglehold on commercial health insurance markets around the country.

“The lack of a competitive commercial health insurance market is a huge problem in 71 percent of the nation’s metropolitan areas. A merger between Anthem-Cigna would further diminish competition in 121 metropolitan areas located throughout the 14 states where Anthem is licensed to provide commercial coverage.

“The start of today’s court challenge sends a clear message that federal and state regulators are no longer willing to accept the claim that a bigger health insurance company is a better one. Peer-reviewed evidence is now available indicating health insurer consolidation has resulted in higher premiums, instead of promised efficiencies and lower costs.

“Allowing Anthem and Cigna to create a health insurance Goliath would compromise physicians’ ability to advocate for their patients — something we consider an integral part of our place in society. In practice, market power allows insurers to exert control over clinical decisions, which undermines our relationships with patients and eliminates crucial safeguards of patient care.

“Lawmakers and regulators have a strong obligation to protect patients from a bad deal and foster more competition in health insurance markets. The AMA commends the DOJ and the bipartisan group of state attorneys general for their efforts to preserve competition and their strong commitment to enforce antitrust laws that prohibit harmful mergers.”

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.