Feb 9, 2017

Judge nixes Anthem-Cigna deal

AP

A federal judge ruled Wednesday against Anthem's proposed acquisition of Cigna, a fate that has been expected for weeks.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson said an Anthem-Cigna combination was anticompetitive and would have resulted in higher prices. This marks the second big win for the Justice Department in the health insurance merger frenzy. Last month, the pending deal between Aetna and Humana was struck down.

Why Anthem and Cigna lost: This deal faced a mountain of antitrust questions, namely that competition would have been significantly reduced for people who get their insurance from large employers. It also didn't help that Anthem and Cigna didn't see eye to eye from the start and bickered behind the scenes about leadership and the direction of a merged company.

What this means: The national health insurance market will still have five major players (Aetna, Anthem, Cigna, Humana and UnitedHealth Group) instead of the three that would've resulted after these mergers, at least for now.

Go deeper

Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and South Korea ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 26 mins ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."

Situational awareness

Warren Buffett. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Warren Buffett releases annual letter, reassures investors about future of Berkshire Hathaway
  2. Greyhound bars immigration sweeps
  3. U.S. military officially stops offensive operations in Afghanistan
  4. America's future looks a lot like Nevada
  5. Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins