Is the American Medical Association taking over the role inmergers once played by the U.S. Department of Justice? A newlyreleased analysis of the proposed Anthem-Cigna merger suggests just that.

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In a 12-page analysis of the competitive impact of the merger,the AMA concludes that the marriage will be very bad for consumersin 10 of the 14 markets in which Anthem operates.

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The AMA’s shot at the merger, still awaiting federal blessing,comes on the heels of an American Hospital Association letter toDOJ warning that the merger entity could easily “cost consumers billions of dollars in higher health care costs” througheven small price hikes in certain markets.

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AMA prefers to let its detailed market share analysis speak foritself.

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By using commercial market share and concentration calculationsbased upon Anthem and Cigna’s current coverage, the report saysthat dangerous levels of concentration would exist post-merger inNew Hampshire, Indiana, Connecticut, Maine, Virginia, Georgia,Colorado, Missouri, Nevada and Kentucky.

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But consumers in the other four states—Ohio, California, NewYork and Wisconsin—aren’t shielded from a price increase threat,the AMA says. The threat is just slightly less ominous.

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The AMA calls on DOJ to study the “significant competitiveconcerns” its study raises and emphatically states that themerger needs to be closely studied by DOJbefore approval is given.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.