CVS-Aetna merger is bad for Medicare patients, AMA says

The American Medical Association said combining CVS Health and Aetna will harm competition, and that a settlement with the Department of Justice does not alleviate antitrust concerns in the Medicare Part D market, according to recent court documents.

Five things to know:

1. The AMA filed a request to submit amicus briefs, or voluntary information, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Feb. 27. Judge Richard Leon, who is tasked with completing certain procedures required by the Tunney Act before signing off on the CVS-Aetna deal, granted the AMA's request. The AMA will be able to file amicus briefs by March 13.

2. In its most recent request, the AMA said the "merger would harm competition and patients and that the divestiture remedy contained within the Proposed Final Judgment [PFJ] will not restore competition in the Medicare Part D Stand Alone Prescription Drug Plan Market to premerger levels."

3. While CVS and Aetna closed their deal in November, the Tunney Act is a federal law requiring the Justice Department to get a federal court's approval for mergers.

4. The Department of Justice formally requested Judge Leon sign off on its settlement to allow CVS to acquire Aetna for about $70 billion Feb. 25. After reviewing 173 comments, the department said it stood by its antitrust settlement, under which Aetna agreed to sell its Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to Florida-based insurer WellCare Health Plans.

5. In June 2018, the AMA urged lawmakers and regulators to block the then-proposed deal.

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