Hospitals to Justice Department: Intervene in Centene-WellCare deal

The American Hospital Association called on the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division to investigate Centene's $17.3 billion bid for WellCare Health Plans, the organization said in an emailed statement to Becker's Hospital Review.

If the deal closes, the combined entity would be the top Medicaid provider in the nation, with 12.3 million members. The AHA said the deal "threatens to reduce competition in delivery of Medicaid managed care and Medicare Advantage services to tens of millions of consumers across broad swaths of the country."

The AHA added that a competitive health insurance market ensures rates remain affordable for consumers.

"The facts show that the WellCare-Centene transaction is likely to significantly reduce competition and will therefore harm the most vulnerable Americans. [The Justice Department] should vigorously review this transaction's effects on current and future competition and take all appropriate measures to protect U.S. consumers," the letter said, according to the AHA.

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