Walmart-Humana is the health care deal to watch

A Walmart store and Humana headquarters.
A Walmart-Humana deal targets pharmacy customers. Photos: Diego Herculano / NurPhoto and iStock via Getty Images

Walmart's potential buyout of Humana could be one of the most consequential deals in the feverish turf war of health care mergers, because it targets the spending power of the aging population.

The big picture: If a Walmart-Humana deal comes to fruition, which is still a big "if," Walmart would catapult from being the most recognizable American retailer into an even bigger corporate powerhouse with a tight grip on billions of federal health care dollars.