wallstreetexaminer.com / by David Zeiler •
As if the Obamacareexchanges don’t have enough problems, now they’re a bargaining chip in the major health insurance companies’ quest to consummate two mega-mergers.
The health insurers have objected to two U.S. Department of Justice lawsuits aimed at blocking the mergers on antitrust grounds. Several of the insurers, including Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET), responded to the July lawsuits by reducing their participation in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges.
This sequence of events in turn has angered five Democratic senators, including Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. They scolded Aetna CEO Mark T. Bertolini in a joint letter last week. The letter also requests answers to about a dozen questions by Sept. 15 (Thursday).
“Aetna’s decision regarding its participation in the ACA exchanges appears to be an effort to
pressure the Justice Department into approving a merger that the Department has alleged violates
antitrust law and has the potential to significantly harm consumers all across the country,” the Sept. 8 letter says.
Aetna is the focus of the senators’ wrath, but four of the five largest U.S. health insurers have a stake in this fight:
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