The DC Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision today upholding the trial court’s injunction preventing the merger of giant health insurers Anthem and Cigna because it would would be anticompetitive. The American Antitrust Institute (AAI) had joined with numerous consumer groups to file an amicus brief urging the Court of Appeals to affirm the district court decision. The proposed merger would have been the largest in the history of the health insurance industry, combining two of the four national carriers.
For almost three decades, light-handed enforcement of the U.S. antitrust laws tilted the scales toward allowing consolidation and strategic conduct that was thought to enhance “efficiency.” Justifications for this approach ranged from forcing down costs, to promoting quality control and spurring investment in R&D by large deep-pocketed firms. Over-enforcement was the bogeyman of conservative ideology. Too-vigorous application of the laws threatened to stifle the efficiencies that were expected to flow from mergers and restraints on competition.
On June 21, the American Antitrust Institute will host its 18th Annual Conference. This year’s event will take up the important topic: The Value of Antitrust.
The American Antitrust Institute is now accepting nominations for the AAI 2017 Antitrust Enforcement Awards that recognize achievements in antitrust litigation by legal practitioners and economists. The Awards will be presented at a gala dinner on November 7, 2017, following the AAI's annual Private Antitrust Enforcement Conference. The award submission period closes on July 15, 2017.
AAI President Diana Moss participated in the 2017 Yale Healthcare Conference on the panel Payer Consolidation: Do Patients Benefit? Moss and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care President and CEO Eric H. Schultz debated how consolidation in the health insurance market impacts consumers and whether the Aetna-Humana and Cigna-Anthem mergers would create efficiencies that give patients better products at lower cost.
Two years have passed since the publication of Northeastern University Professor John Kwoka's book Mergers, Merger Control, and Remedies: A Retrospective Analysis of U.S. Policy. The book has received attention from economists, lawyers, policymakers, and regulators, including critique and criticism from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Kwoka recently issued a response to the FTC critique in Mergers, Merger Control, and Remedies: A Response to the FTC Critique.
AAI President Diana Moss unpacks the mergers of Dow-DuPont and Monsanto-Bayer in the U.S. and what they mean for innovation competition for the blog Truth on the Market.
Today, the White House announced the nomination of Makan Delrahim to serve as Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The nomination is the first of two appointments that will likely determine the path of antitrust enforcement during the Trump administration. The nominee for the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission has yet to be announced.
On June 21, the American Antitrust Institute will host its 18th Annual Conference. This year’s event will take up the important topic: The Value of Antitrust. The change in administration is an opportune time to take stock of why and how antitrust remains a central policy tool for promoting a market economy, competition, innovation, and consumer benefits. Growing concerns over declining competition, slowing rates of market entry, and inequality gaps have put antitrust into the spotlight. Mounting economic evidence on the effects of past mergers, efficiencies, and remedies has given competition enforcers and proponents of fair competition reasons to be more vigilant in scrutinizing further consolidation and potentially anticompetitive behavior.
The American Antitrust Institute joined with numerous consumer groups to file an amicus brief urging the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm the district court decision blocking the merger of Anthem and Cigna Corp. The proposed merger would be the largest in the history of the health insurance industry, combining two of the four national carriers. The AAI has been at the forefront of efforts to block the merger, which the district court found would substantially lessen competition, raise prices, and reduce innovation.