On Monday, US District Judge John D. Bates blocked the proposed merger of health insurance companies Aetna and Humana, finding that the $37 billion deal would have substantially lessened competition in Medicare Advantage and commercial health insurance markets.
“The Court is unpersuaded that the efficiencies generated by the merger will be sufficient to mitigate the anticompetitive effects for consumers in the challenged markets,” Judge Bates wrote in his 158-page opinion.
In July, the Justice Department sued to block the merger, arguing that it would reduce competition in the Medicare Advantage market and in some of the exchanges set up under the Affordable Care Act. In a separate case, Anthem and Cigna have proposed a $54 billion merger that was also blocked by the Justice Department and appealed. The decision in that case is still pending.