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AMA to Florida's AG: Stop $37B Aetna-Humana acquisition — 5 things to know

The American Medical Association joined the Florida Medical Association and Florida Osteopathic Medical Association asking the Florida Attorney General to reject the Aetna/Humana merger.

Here are five key notes:

1. Aetna and Humana announced plans to merge in 2015, with Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini expecting to close the acquisition this year. The Department of Justice is currently reviewing the $37 billion acquisition, and 15 state attorney generals joined the probe for this as well as the Anthem-Cigna merger.

2. The AMA and affiliated organizations are concerned the Aetna-Humana merger promotes anti-competitive behavior and could negatively impact healthcare quality, access and affordability. The proposed Aetna-Humana merger currently runs "afoul of federal antitrust guidelines" for highly populated areas.

3. The Florida Office of Inspector Regulation issued a conditional consent order last month with documented anticompetitive effects of the merger from state insurance regulators. However, the opponents say the consent order relies on a flawed argument: regulators can substantiate for competition.

4. There is already a lack of competition in Florida, according to the AMA, in the health insurance market. Nineteen Florida metropolitan areas have two health insurers with at least 50 percent of the commercial health insurance market.

5. Florida officials have an obligation to enforce antitrust laws.

"Competition, not consolidation, is the right prescription for Florida's health insurance market," said AMA President-elect Andrew W. Gurman, MD. "Less competition already consolidated health insurance markets will lead to price increase, not to greater efficiency or lower healthcare costs. Given the negative long-term consequences of the proposed merger, any remedy short of rejection would not adequately protect 2.4 million people in Florida."

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