Justice Department sues to block $13B UnitedHealth, Change deal

The Justice Department on Feb. 24 filed a lawsuit challenging UnitedHealth Group's planned acquisition of health technology company Change Healthcare. 

The Justice Department filed the lawsuit in federal court in Washington, arguing the proposed $13 billion transaction would harm competition in commercial health insurance markets, as well as in the market for a vital technology used by health insurers to process claims.

"Quality health insurance should be accessible to all Americans," Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a news release. "If America's largest health insurer is permitted to acquire a major rival for critical health care claims technologies, it will undermine competition for health insurance and stifle innovation in the employer health insurance markets." 

UnitedHealth said it will fight the lawsuit, arguing the Justice Department's "deeply flawed position is based on highly speculative theories that do not reflect the realities of the healthcare system," the company said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal

UnitedHealth said the deal would allow the companies to "increase efficiency and reduce friction in health care, producing a better experience and lower costs." 

UnitedHealth subsidiary Optum announced its intent in January 2021 to acquire Change Healthcare. The deal has faced opposition from the American Hospital Association.

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