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Physicians Charge Health Insurer Merger Not In The Public Interest
Date:5/15/2008

e the DOJ's decision not to bring an enforcement action challenging the anti-competitive effects of the merger in Nevada's commercial health insurance market.

"The decision to approve the Sierra acquisition, despite the anti-competitive concerns in the Las Vegas market, was a step backward for the DOJ's enforcement actions," said Dr. Plested. "If the DOJ has changed its enforcement policy on health insurance mergers, it should disclose the reasons for those changes so that the court can determine whether the proposed final judgment is in the public's interest."

Citing the negative effects of consolidated market power, the DOJ in 2005 required significant divestiture in another UnitedHealth mega-merger involving PacifiCare. This meaningful action to protect high-quality medical care from dominant market power acquired by UnitedHealth stands in stark contrast to the DOJ's current actions in the Sierra buyout where the threat of an anti-competitive monopoly is much higher.

"The Department of Justice dropped the ball in protecting Nevada's health care system and that mistake should be reversed," said Dr. Seher. "In the interim, we are looking forward to working with the Nevada State Attorney General to implement the broader protections she has ordered as conditions of the merger."

Also filing Tunney Act comments today were the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business, Service Employees International Union Nevada and Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani.


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SOURCE American Medical Association
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