- Democratic senators from seven states teamed up this week to try to persuade the Justice Department to block the two proposed mergers of Aetna with Humana and Cigna with Anthem.
- Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT); Al Franken (D-MN); Elizabeth Warren (D-MA); Sherrod Brown, (D-OH); Edward Markey, (D-MA); Dianne Feinstein, (D-CA), and Mazie Hirono, (D-HI) sent a letter outlining their arguments for such an action
- Blumenthal argued that aside from the general concerns around reduced competition, the mergers could have a devastating effect on Connecticut given two of the insurers involved in the deals (Cigna and Aetna) are based in the state.
The letter to the Justice Department argues the mergers would negativey impact premium prices, jobs and healthcare costs. "In addition to the antitrust legal standard, a critical point to note is the harmful impact these mergers could have on job cuts, wage stagnation, higher healthcare prices, and the nation's overall economy," the senators stated.
Blumenthal and other Connecticut industry stakeholders arguably have the most at stake considering that Cigna is based in Bloomfield and Aetna is based in Hartford. Any changes to location and/or jobs could be devastating not only to employees but to the state in terms of the value those employees provide through taxes and community involvement, Oz Griebel, CEO of the MetroHartford Alliance, told the Hartford Courant.
In addition, Blumenthal noted Anthem has not received "the same assurances'' that Humana has regarding workers' job safety.
Meanwhile, state legislators are requesting Connecticut insurance commissioner Katharine Wade be barred from ruling on the Cigna deal given that she is a former longtime employee and her husband remains employed there.
Last week, California Insurance Commissioner urged DOJ to block the Anthem/Cigna merger.