What We're Reading: California Insurance Commissioner Opposes Anthem-Cigna Merger

What we're reading, June 17, 2016: California's insurance commissioner comes out in opposition of the merger between Anthem and Cigna; local governments push for drug makers to pay for drug take-back programs; and the CDC releases numbers of Zika-related birth defects in the United States.

California’s state insurance department wants the merger of Anthem and Cigna to be blocked. According to Kaiser Health News, the California Insurance Commissioner has declared the deal would be anti-competitive and harmful to consumers. In addition, he said that the merger would likely result in higher costs, fewer choices, and lower quality of care. While the commissioner does not have the authority to thwart the merger, his recommendation could carry weight.

Drug makers and local government continue to do battle over who should pay for drug take-back programs. A total of 8 counties or cities have created such programs requiring drug makers foot the bill, and more are being proposed elsewhere, according to STAT.

The CDC reported that 6 women in the mainland Untied States were pregnant with babies suffering brain damage as a result of the Zika virus. The agency continues to monitor 423 pregnant women with Zika who contracted the virus through travel or an infected partner, reported The Washington Post. This is the first time the agency has provided numbers of Zika-related birth defects.