via Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON—A federal judge Monday blocked the proposed merger of health insurers Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc. on antitrust grounds, a potentially fatal blow to the $34 billion deal and a capstone victory for Justice Department antitrust officials under former President Barack Obama.
U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ruled the Justice Department had proven its case that the merger would unlawfully threaten competition. harming seniors who buy private Medicare coverage as well as some consumers who purchase health plans through an Affordable Care Act insurance exchange.
The government’s challenge to the merger was among the last major law-enforcement actions taken by Obama administration antitrust officials. The administration also challenged Anthem Inc.’s proposed acquisition of Cigna Corp., and a ruling in that case is expected any day. Together the deals could have transformed an industry already facing uncertainty from Republican plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and replace it with another health-care plan.