Anthem-Cigna Deal is Bad for Healthcare in Tennessee
Federal courts on Monday began hearing the trial in a lawsuit against the proposed $54 billion merger between health insurance giants Anthem and Cigna. The suit was filed in July by the U.S. Department of Justice and numerous state Attorneys General, including the Attorney General of the State of Tennessee. The Tennessee Medical Association, the state's largest professional organization for doctors, commends the DOJ and Herbert Slatery, Tennessee's attorney general, for joining forces in a legal challenge to prevent this unprecedented merger deal.
TMA, along with the American Medical Association, believes that the pending blockbuster merger threatens healthcare access, quality and affordability in Tennessee.
"Consolidation among insurance companies leads to less competition, which leads to fewer choices and higher premiums for patients," said Keith G. Anderson, MD, Memphis cardiologist and TMA President. "We've heard arguments that bigger companies can operate more efficiently and drive down costs, but history in the market shows just the opposite. Tennessee's physicians are concerned about the proliferation of narrow networks and health plan mergers affecting our ability to negotiate network contracts and, most importantly, our patients being able to maintain adequate, affordable coverage."
According to an AMA analysis, the proposed merger would enhance Anthem's market power in Tennessee, particularly in the Chattanooga, Clarksville and Kingsport MSAs.
"If Anthem gets its way, it will have even less incentive than it does now to take care of people, and the merger would ultimately compromise physicians' ability to advocate for their patients," said Andrew W. Gurman, M.D., President of the AMA.
"Giving health insurers more control in an already imbalanced market would allow them to further narrow networks, increase premiums, water down benefits and grow corporate profitability," added Dr. Anderson. "Competition, not consolidation, is the best way to lower premiums, enhance customer service, and improve quality healthcare while lowering costs. We hope this merger is now allowed to go through so patients in Tennessee and across the U.S. have more choice for affordable health insurance coverage."