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CVS Health, owner of MinuteClinics, is trying to buy Aetna. Photo: Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

"Attractive" profit margins and an aging population are the main reasons for the rush of health care mergers and acquisitions, according to a survey of health care and private equity dealmakers conducted by consulting firm West Monroe Partners.

Reality check: Even though health care players say "value-based care" drives their decision-making, the survey is a candid reminder a lot of the industry is driven by making money rather than improving care.

Driving the news: The West Monroe survey of 100 executives found three predominant factors that will make health care companies appealing takeover targets over the next 1-3 years:

  • Attractive profit margins
  • Aging population
  • Overall growth in demand for care

Between the lines: There's no talk here about "patient-centered coordination" or "controlling spending growth." The responses suggest that dealmakers, especially those in private equity, know they can extract profit from companies that get a lot of revenue from government programs.

But not too much: Many companies and buyout firms have balked at closing deals "if a final analysis shows a large portion of government reimbursement" in a target company's finances. Almost three-fourths of respondents said they have walked away from a deal, due in part to the lower rates paid by Medicare and Medicaid.

  • A shortage of quality companies, crazy-high valuations and too much debt also have scared off some parties from acquiring health care companies.

Go deeper

35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

McConnell drops filibuster demand, paving way for power-sharing deal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attend a joint session of Congress. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has abandoned his demand that Democrats state, in writing, that they would not abandon the legislative filibuster.

Between the lines: McConnell was never going to agree to a 50-50 power sharing deal without putting up a fight over keeping the 60-vote threshold. But the minority leader ultimately caved after it became clear that delaying the organizing resolution was no longer feasible.

2 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: Google won't donate to members of Congress who voted against election results

Sen. Ted Cruz led the group of Republicans who opposed certifying the results. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Google will not make contributions from its political action committee this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, following the deadly Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Several major businesses paused or pulled political donations following the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters, riled up by former President Trump, stormed the Capitol on the day it was to certify the election results.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Minority Mitch still setting Senate agenda

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Chuck Schumer may be majority leader, yet in many ways, Mitch McConnell is still running the Senate show — and his counterpart is about done with it.

Why it matters: McConnell rolled over Democrats unapologetically, and kept tight control over his fellow Republicans, while in the majority. But he's showing equal skill as minority leader, using political jiujitsu to convert a perceived weakness into strength.