The Justice Department under President Obama argues that the two merger plans by the four insurers would eventually hurt the consumer. President-elect Trump indicated last week that the planned Athem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana might get a more positive response from his Justice Department, reports the New York Times. Last Friday, Trump nominated conservative Sen. Jeff Sessions to replace Loretta E. Lynch as Attorney General. “While it is unclear how Mr. Sessions would have the department handle antitrust cases, Mr. Trump has said that he wants less government regulation of business,” the Times reports.
The insurers argue that the mergers would actually help consumers because it would give the health insurers the sort of bargaining clout needed in the wake of hospital and physician group consolidation. The cases are expected to be settled before Trump is sworn in. But the settlements would probably be handled by the Trump administration. For that, there is precedent, the Times reports.
The Trump administration “might be inclined to strike a settlement less onerous to the insurer. After the department under President Bill Clinton won its antitrust case against Microsoft, the officials taking over for President George W. Bush pursued a settlement that many viewed as less far-reaching than one that would have been sought by their predecessors.”
Source: New York Times