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Clinton Questions Plans For Health Insurers To Merge


WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton is warning that planned mergers in the health insurance industry could tip the balance of power away from consumers.

The Democratic presidential candidate said Wednesday she has "serious concerns" with the proposed acquisition of Cigna by Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer Anthem, and plans by Aetna to acquire Medicare Advantage coverage provider Humana.

Clinton says the proposed merger between Anthem and Cigna could raise market concentration in New Hampshire to "excessive levels." She says both would concentrate competition in other U.S. markets.

"As we see more consolidation in health care, among both providers and insurers, I'm worried that the balance of power is moving too far away from consumers," Clinton said in a statement. "These mergers should be scrutinized very closely with an eye to preventing the undue concentration that they appear to create."

A spokesman for Humana did not return a request for comment Wednesday afternoon.

Cynthia Michener, a spokeswoman for Aetna, told Reuters the Humana deal would lead to "positive change" in the health insurance industry.

"Aetna is focused on evolving the health care industry to a new model," she said.

Anthem wants to buy Cigna for $48 billion while Aetna wants to acquire Humana for about $37 billion.

Shareholders for Aetna and Humana voted overwhelmingly to approve the deal on Monday. Humana has roughly 13,000 employees in Louisville.

The Justice Department is reviewing the deals to determine if the mergers would make the companies so dominant they could create a competitive imbalance.