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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Mergers between health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers have been billed as a way to save employers money. But half of employers don't expect that to happen, according to a new JPMorgan survey.

Driving the news: In JPMorgan's survey of top human-resources executives from 50 companies, exactly 50% said they don't think integrating medical and drug benefits under one roof will "drive overall health care savings."

What they're saying: Here are some of the anonymous quotes JPMorgan gathered from respondents on the skeptical side:

  • "There's too much money to be made. They're not offering integrated services to give up revenue."
  • "I am not sure why going back to how it was will magically result in overall savings."
  • "More ways to hide money."

The other side: Even among the other 50% — the executives who were more optimistic about savings — that optimism was tempered.

  • "Conceptually, this should mean greater influence over prescribing patterns. To date, in my opinion, it hasn't," one executive said.

Between the lines: As we wrote last year, this spate of consolidation among insurers and PBMs would not have happened unless those companies were pretty sure they could hang on to a lot of the savings they produced.

  • Employers can always switch insurance carriers if they think they are getting overcharged. But they rarely do so, because they don't want the employee backlash that's associated with overhauling health benefits.

Go deeper: Health insurance is as big as Big Tech

Go deeper

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.