Dr Barbara McAneny Expresses Concern With Increasing Consolidation

November 4, 2018

The American Medical Association (AMA) had pushed for the CVS–Aetna merger to be blocked because of the increasing body of literature that shows consolidation results in more expensive care with no increase in quality, said Barbara L. McAneny, MD, president of the AMA.

The American Medical Association (AMA) had pushed for the CVS—Aetna merger to be blocked because of the increasing body of literature that shows consolidation results in more expensive care with no increase in quality, said Barbara L. McAneny, MD, president of the AMA.

Transcript

How do you view the vertical integration that has been happening, such as the CVS—Aetna merger?

We had actually requested through the California Department of Insurance and through other testimony that the CVS—Aetna merger not be allowed to take place. We’re appreciative that they at least took the [Medicare] Part D plan away from Aetna, because that was the most egregious conflict of interest.

However, there’s an increasing body of literature that shows that consolidation—either horizontal, where it’s a bunch of hospitals or a bunch of health plans consolidating, or vertical, where it’s health plans and hospitals and pharmacies and other things consolidating—increases their market dominance, which allows them to negotiate higher prices for the exact same service they were delivering before.

So, consolidation has been shown to increase the cost of healthcare, decrease the choice that patients have, and the choice that doctors have, and, if you’re lucky, the quality stays the same.