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Federal judge blocks Anthem, Cigna deal: 6 things to know

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Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia blocked the proposed merger between Indianapolis-based Anthem and Bloomfield, Conn.-based Cigna, the New York Times reports.

Here are six things to know:

1. Judge Jackson ruled the deal would yield higher prices for consumers and limit competition.

2. In her order, Judge Jackson said the merger would "diminish the prospects for innovation in the market. "

3. Cigna and Anthem have had squabbles pertaining to their merger, with Judge Jackson referring to the disagreements as "the elephant in the courtroom." In September 2016, news surfaced about the two companies accusing each other of breaching the acquisition agreement.

4. Anthem is set to pay Cigna a breakup fee totaling $1.85 billion as per the deal's terms if the merger does not come to fruition.

5. Anthem said the company plans to file a notice of appeal and request an expedited hearing of its appeal following Judge Jackson's decision.

Joseph R. Swedish, Anthem CEO, chairman and president, issued the following statement, "Anthem is significantly disappointed by the decision as combining Anthem and Cigna would positively impact the health and well-being of millions of Americans - saving them more than $2 billion in medical costs annually. "

6. The American Medical Association applauds the decision. Andrew Gurman, MD, AMA president, said, the following in a statement, "Today's ruling is an important victory for consumers. Coupled with the recent court-imposed injunction on the Aetna-Humana merger, the rulings demonstrate the vital role the U.S. Department of Justice and state attorneys general have in protecting patients and physicians from harmful mergers that substantially lessen competition in highly concentrated health insurance markets. The significant absence of health insurer competition in most markets is detrimental to patients and poses an important public policy problem. "

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