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    US Court Backs Justice Dept. Lawsuit to Block Merger of Health Insurance Giants

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    The US Department of Justice announced that a US District Court ruling has backed a decision by the Obama administration to block the merger of two of the nation’s biggest health insurance providers Aetna and Humana.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — A US District Court ruling has backed a decision by the Obama administration to block the merger of two of the nation’s biggest health insurance providers Aetna and Humana, the US Department of Justice announced in a press release on Monday.

    "This merger would have stifled competition and led to higher prices and lower quality health insurance," Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder stated in the release. "Aetna attempted to buy a formidable rival, Humana, instead of competing independently to win customers."

    Monday’s decision by US District Court in Washington, DC backs a lawsuit by the former Obama administration’s Justice Department to block the proposed merger.

    Both companies have the option of appealing the decision in higher courts.

    It remains unclear whether the administration of President Donald Trump will weigh in on the Justice Department’s lawsuit.

    However, a lack of competition in government run exchanges — where individuals purchase insurance — is a key weakness cited by Obamacare critics, including Trump, as a reason for soaring premium costs that threaten to make healthcare unaffordable for many Obamacare participants.

    Premium increases in 2017 have been blamed on less competition due to decisions by many US insurers, including Aetna and Humana, to pull out of some Obamacare exchanges after losing hundreds of millions of dollars in 2016.

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