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Insurance for the Insurer

A few days ago, Anthem (the second largest US health insurance company) came out in favor of the Republican bill repealing major parts of the ACA. This surprised me, because both of the major trade associations representing health insurance companies came out strongly against that bill, and yet here was a major insurer singing its praises. What gives?

Well, it didn’t take long for an explanation to appear. It turns out that Anthem is trying to get federal approval so that it can acquire competitor Cigna. So far, the government has put together a strong case that the proposed merger will produce significant market concentration and reduce competition. But that was before the Republicans took over the government.

So this is now how things work. Companies kiss up to Donald Trump and the Republicans, and in exchange they get to do an end-run around monopoly laws and competition. Maybe Anthem will throw in some nice campaign contributions as icing on their cake. And of course, you know who will be the loser in all this. Right?

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