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Psychiatrist group opposes 2 huge insurance mergers



Location of Sigmund Freud’s ashes in London.

The American Psychiatric Association has joined the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians in warning U.S. antitrust regulators about the effects of two proposed health-insurance mergers. The psychiatrist group asserts that the mergers could worsen access to mental-health care.

Anthem Inc. would become the largest U.S. health insurer through a proposed $47 billion acquisition of Cigna Corp. and  Aetna plans to  buy Humana Inc. to make it the largest provider of   very lucrative Medicare Advantage plans.

Reuters has noted that ”{a}ntitrust concerns have kept investors and other experts skeptical about the likelihood the deals will make it past the U.S. Department of Justice antitrust reviews now underway.

“There is also political opposition. Earlier this week, Democrats and Republicans grilled Anthem and Aetna during a Senate hearing on the effects of insurer consolidation.”

On the other hand, health insurers give lots of campaign cash to federal (and state) legislators…

The psychiatry group, which has 36,000 physicians, complained that  insurers have too often denied  mental-health benefits compared to benefits involving other ailments and that their networks of insurance-affiliated psychiatrists were thin and likely to get more so.



Execs say the ACA too entrenched to be killed




Top healthcare executives say that the Affordable Care Act is far too entrenched to be killed  by Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Repeal of the ACA “is not a possibility,” George Scangos, chief executive at biotechnology company Biogen Idec Inc., told Reuters . “They {the Republicans} would somehow have to explain to millions of people that they will lose health insurance.”

Aetna Inc. said it is talking to Republicans and Democrats about a possible “grand bargain” to salvage  the ACA if the U.S.  Supreme Court rules against key elements of the law later this year.

“Blowing up the (Affordable Care Act) is like shutting down the government,” Aetna Chief Executive Officer Mark Bertolini told some investors. “So we are having conversations on both sides of the aisle about what … things you change in the ACA, what we could introduce, about how to make a grand bargain should the Supreme Court decide.”



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