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The US government is planning to file lawsuits to block the massive mergers of four healthcare giants, according to Bloomberg.
The Department of Justice will attempt to block both the $54 billion deal between Anthem and Cigna, which would create the largest health insurance company based on the number of people covered, and a $37 billion takeover of Humana by Aetna.
Both deals are being blocked on anticompetitive grounds, Bloomberg said, citing sources within the Justice Department. The number of different health insurers offered in a given area has been directly linked to the price of insurance. Thus, allowing four of the five largest insurers to combine may cause an increase in prices.
According to the report, the lawsuits could come as soon as the end of the week and will be done by the end of July.
The deals had already faced regulatory pushback from Democratic US senators, who recommended that the Justice Department reject the mergers.
Following the report, the stock prices for all four companies fell into negative territory. Aetna fell 2.71%, Anthem was down 2.18%, Cigna fell 2.13%, and Humana fell 3.92%.
A spokesperson from Cigna declined to comment on the reports. A spokesperson from Aetna said that the company does not comment on speculation, but “remains steadfast that this deal is good for consumers and the healthcare system.” Spokespeople for Anthem and Humana were not immediately available for comment.
The Department of Justice also declined to comment.