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Oct 21, 2015 10:19 PM

Steinhauser: Clinton critical of major health insurance mergers

NH1 Political Director - NH1.com

CONCORD – Hillary Clinton says she’s got “serious concerns” about proposed mergers among major health care providers that could have a big impact in New Hampshire.

“As we see more consolidation in health care, among both providers and insurers, I’m worried that the balance of power is moving too far away from consumers,” Clinton said in a statement Wednesday.

The former secretary of state and Democratic presidential front runner is concerned about proposed mergers involving Aetna and Humana, as well as Cigna and Anthem. The latter deal would merge the top two commercial (non-government) health care providers in the Granite State.

In a new statement released Wednesday, Hillary Clinton raised “serious concerns” about proposed mergers involving major health insurance companies Aetna and Humana, as well as Cigna and Anthem. The latter deal would combine two of New Hampshire’s largest commercial (non-government) health insurance providers.

“As we see more consolidation in health care, among both providers and insurers, I’m worried that the balance of power is moving too far away from consumers,” Clinton said in a statement

“I have serious concerns about the proposed mergers between Anthem and Cigna, and between Aetna and Humana. One could raise market concentration in New Hampshire to excessive levels, and both have concerning effects on competition in other markets. These mergers should be scrutinized very closely with an eye to preventing the undue concentration that they appear to create. I am very skeptical of the claim that consumers will benefit from them because the evidence from careful studies shows that too often the companies end up pocketing profits rather than passing savings to consumers. These companies should commit to passing on savings and efficiencies to consumers as lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs,” Clinton added.

Clinton’s comments come a month after an American Medical Association analysis indicated that “nearly half of all states could see diminished competition in local health insurance markets” due to the proposed mergers.

Monday Aetna and Humana shareholders voted to approve the two companies’ merger. But proposed mergers must still must be approved by antitrust enforcers.

Last week at the first Democratic presidential debate, Clinton said health insurers, along with the Iranians and Republicans, were among the top enemies she’s made during her political career.

The Republican National Committee said Clinton is complaining “about the side effects of Obamacare while she continues to stand by this failed and unpopular law.”

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