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The feds are still reviewing the CVS-Aetna deal. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The court decision allowing AT&T's takeover of Time Warner, with no conditions, upholds the traditional view that vertical mergers don't pose the same antitrust threats as horizontal ones.

Why it matters: AT&T's win makes it more likely (though not completely certain) that the two giant vertical health care mergers pending with the Department of Justice — CVS' $69 billion acquisition of Aetna and Cigna's $52 billion deal for Express Scripts — will also get the green light.

Yes, but: There’s still a chance antitrust officials may want to block these health care deals on the grounds the merged companies may have incentives to exclude rivals from their health insurance and pharmacy benefit options. Mergers really are looked at on a case-by-case basis.

Two concurrent reviews of consolidating pharmacy benefit managers also has an aura of summer 2016, when the DOJ blocked the simultaneous deals that would have consolidated health insurers.

  • But the DOJ was handed a major loss and may not pursue those routes knowing it could lose again.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

4 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.