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Coalition launches petition to encourage Pam Bondi to investigate insurance mergers

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A coalition of consumer and physicians’ groups isn’t backing away from its request for an investigation into insurance mergers.

The Florida Campaign for Consumer Choice on Friday launched a statewide petition drive to encourage Attorney General Pam Bondi to investigate the mergers of Aetna and Humana, and Anthem and Cigna. The petition effort is the latest in a series of calls to action by the organization.

“We know that 88-percent of Floridians have expressed some levels of concern regarding the mergers and we need our state leaders to step up to protect Floridians,” said Alison Morano, a spokeswoman for the group, in a statement Friday.

In a May 5 letter, the group asked Bondi to “vigorously investigate” the proposed mergers. The letter was signed by the Florida Consumer Action Network, Doctors for America-Florida, Campaign for Consumer Choice, Organize Now, and Progress Florida.

The coalition said hospital groups — including the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, and the Florida Medical Association — had encouraged Bondi to reject the mergers since they could lead to a loss in competition. However, the group said those calls were not acted on.

A poll conducted by Public Policy Polling found a majority of Floridians were at least somewhat concerned about the proposed. When Floridians were given information about the possible impact of the merger, 77 percent supported calls for an investigation.

“This is why we have launched a petition to show that Floridians are urging General Bondi to do the right thing and investigate the mergers for antitrust violations,” said Morano. “We need to ensure that Florida consumers are top of mind when it comes to major changes as proposed in these mergers.”

Last year, Aetna struck an agreement to buy Humana for $37 billion. In July, Anthem announced it planned to buy Cigna for about $54.2 billion. In January, Reuters reported more than a dozen state attorneys general, including Florida’s, joined the Department of Justice’s probe into the merger.

According to STAT, a new national publication produced by Boston Globe Media, the Campaign for Consumer Choice is lobbying in five states — including Florida, Virginia and Ohio — against the proposed merger.

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