Thanks Obamacare——-Predatory Medical Cartels Getting Even Bigger

From The Wall Street Journal

The five largest commercial health insurers in the U.S. have contracted merger fever, or maybe typhoid. <!–
–> UnitedHealth<!–
–> is chasing <!–
–> Cigna <!–
–>and even <!–
–> Aetna<!–
–>; <!–
–> Humana <!–
–>has put itself on the block; and Anthem is trying to pair off with Cigna, which is thinking about buying Humana. If the logic of ObamaCare prevails, this exercise will conclude with all five fusing into one monster conglomerate.

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This multibillion-dollar MA boom is notable even amid the current corporate-financial deal-making binge, yet insurance is only the latest health-care industry to be swept by consolidation. The danger is that ObamaCare is creating oligopolies, with the predictable results of higher costs, lower quality and less innovation.


The business case for the insurance tie-ups among the big five commercial payers, which will likely leave merely three, is straightforward. Credit is historically cheap, and the insurers have built franchises in different areas that could be complementary. As for antitrust, selling coverage to employers doesn’t overlap with, say, managing Medicaid for states. (Expect some of the Blue CrossBlue Shield nonprofits to hang for-sale signs soon for the same reasons.)


The mergers reflect the reality that government—Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the ObamaCare exchanges—is now the artery of insurance profits, not the private economy. The feds “happen to be, for most of us now, our largest customer,” Aetna CEO <!–
–> Mark Bertolini<!–
–> said this month at a <!–
–> Goldman Sachs<!–
–> conference.

Mr. Bertolini added: “So there is a relationship you need to figure out there if you’re going to have a sustained positive relationship with your biggest customer. And we can all take our own

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