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California Joins Antitrust Lawsuit To Block Health Insurance Merger

  

California has joined in a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit to block a $54 billion merger between the insurance companies Anthem and Cigna.

The court filing says that the merger would be the largest in the history of the healthcare industry, resulting in a combined total of 52 million plan participants. It says that the merger "would enhance Anthem's power to profit at the expense of both consumers and the doctors and hospitals providing their medical care."

"In some circumstances, these mergers can create benefits for consumers, including more innovation, more coordinated healthcare and better healthcare delivery," California Attorney General Kamala Harris said in an announcement Thursday. "The proposed merger between Anthem and Cigna does not strike that balance and would drive up costs to consumers and reduce access to quality healthcare for millions of Californians.”

Co-plaintiffs in the case also include 10 other states and the District of Columbia.

A lawsuit has also been filed to block a $37 billion merger between another two large insurance companies, Aetna and Humana.

-Capital Public Radio Staff