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Connecticut says will not drop opposition to Anthem/Cigna deal
March 1, 2017 / 9:56 PM / in 8 months

Connecticut says will not drop opposition to Anthem/Cigna deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Connecticut said on Wednesday it had no plans to drop its opposition to health insurer Anthem Inc’s proposed purchase of rival Cigna Corp, even if the U.S. Justice Department decides to settle with the companies.

FILE PHOTO -- A sign at the office building of health insurer Anthem is seen in Los Angeles, California February 5, 2015. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas/File Photo

Anthem, which lost a district court fight brought by the Justice Department and 11 states, has kept pressing its bid to buy Cigna by appealing a lower court injunction stopping the deal and by reaching out to the new administration of President Donald Trump in hopes of hammering out a settlement.

Connecticut said it was not giving up.

“The state of Connecticut, ‎which has its own antitrust claims independent of the federal government, is not involved in settlement talks and remains committed to its case,” Jaclyn Falkowski, spokeswoman for state Attorney General George Jepsen, said in an emailed statement.

The deal, valued at about $54 billion, faces seemingly insurmountable odds but Anthem is pushing ahead. In addition to opposition from the Justice Department and 11 states, Cigna has said it wants out of the merger.

The American Medical Association (AMA), which represents doctors and had opposed the planned deal, wrote to the Justice Department this week to “express alarm” about the prospect of a settlement.

“We find it implausible that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), eleven states, and the District of Columbia — that have diligently and successfully prosecuted this antitrust merger case — could now be swayed to allow this merger to close pursuant to politically-driven settlement negotiations as Anthem has suggested,” wrote James Madara, the AMA’s chief executive.

The letter was dated Tuesday and sent to Brent Snyder, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. 

Anthem’s purchase of Cigna would create the largest U.S. health insurer. Rivals Aetna Inc and Humana Inc had also sought to merge but that deal collapsed amid opposition from the federal government and states.

Anthem and Cigna are also suing each other. Cigna filed a lawsuit in Delaware in February, seeking legal sanction for its decision to end the deal and $13 billion in damages. Anthem responded by asking a judge to forbid Cigna to terminate the deal prematurely.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by David Gregorio

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