D.C. Circuit Affirms Decision Blocking Anthem’s Acquisition of Cigna
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today affirmed the decision by the District Court for the District of Columbia blocking health insurer Anthem, Inc.’s acquisition of Cigna Corp., the Justice Department announced. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division released the following statement today after the ruling in United States et al. v. Anthem, Inc. and Cigna Corp.:
“We are pleased with the appellate court’s decision. It upholds an injunction against the merger of two of the country’s largest health insurers, which not only would have led to higher prices but also slowed innovation and harmed consumers by weakening value-based offerings aimed at lowering medical costs. The decision confirms the district court’s conclusion that the merger would not have provided real benefits to consumers, but instead would have harmed competition in these important markets.
“I am proud of the outstanding work done by the trial team, who established that this merger would be anticompetitive, and by the lawyers who defended the case on appeal. As this case shows, the Antitrust Division and our state partners will continue to vigorously protect competition and enforce the antitrust laws in this critical industry.”
In July 2016, the Antitrust Division filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to block Anthem’s $54 billion acquisition of Cigna, the largest proposed transaction in the history of the healthcare industry. The division’s complaint alleged that the merger would substantially lessen competition in the health insurance industry in dozens of markets throughout the United States.
The Division tried the case before Judge Amy Berman Jackson over a seven-week period from Nov. 21, 2016, to Jan. 3, 2017. On Feb. 8, 2017, Judge Jackson ruled in favor of the Division and blocked the proposed merger. She found that the merger was likely to substantially lessen competition in the market for the sale of health insurance to national accounts based in fourteen states, and in the sale of health insurance to large employers in Richmond, Virginia. Five days after the court’s decision, Anthem filed a brief appealing the decision and separately requested expedited review from the court of appeals. Oral argument was held six weeks later on March 24, 2017.
The United States was joined in the lawsuit by the District of Columbia and the States of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Tennessee and Virginia.