Mar 28, 2018

The antitrust case against new insurance mergers

The CVS-Aetna merger is under fire from an antitrust watchdog. Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

CVS and Aetna executives have argued their potential merger will open up a more efficient “front door” into the health care system. But the American Antitrust Institute believes the merger “will potentially harm competition and consumers." Along with the merger of Cigna and Express Scripts, the deal “would trigger a fundamental restructuring of the U.S. health care system," the nonpartisan think tank said in a 10-page letter to the Department of Justice.

Its main points: CVS-Aetna and Cigna-Express Scripts would combine companies that hold dominant positions in health insurance, PBMs and retail pharmacy — and it could create incentives to exclude rivals. And the PBMs could act as “conduits” for gathering sensitive information about health insurer rivals, which could lead to “price fixing” or “collusion," AAI said. 

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 5,945,711— Total deaths: 365,535 — Total recoveries — 2,516,951Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 1,747,087 — Total deaths: 102,836 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Economy: America's unfinished business.
  4. Supreme Court: Chief Justice Roberts sides with liberals in denying challenge to California's pandemic worship rules.
  5. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March.
  6. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  7. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.

America's unfinished business

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The fury over George Floyd's killing is erupting as the U.S. faces a looming wave of business bankruptcies, likely home evictions and a virus pandemic that will all disproportionately hit African Americans.

Why it matters: What these seemingly disparate issues share in common is that they emanate from systemic abuses that calls to action and promised reforms have yet to meaningfully address.

Deaths without consequences

Community organizations and activists demand police accountability at a rally in Grand Central Terminal to commemorate the 5-year anniversary of Mike Brown's death by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Photo: Erik McGregor/Getty Images

Seven years after the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement, it's still rare for police officers to be charged in the deaths of African Americans — and even more rare for an officer to go to jail.

The big picture: The Minneapolis police officer who was captured on video kneeling on George Floyd's neck has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter — which is already a step beyond the consequences other police officers have faced. But it's no guarantee that he will face jail time.