Aetna CEO Sent Despicable Ultimatum to Feds: Approve Merger, Or We'll Drop Obamacare
The announcement by insurance company Aetna earlier this week that it would no longer be accepting Obamacare in 11 of its 15 participating states on account of financial losses has proven to be a boon for critics of the Affordable Care Act. But as new evidence reveals, there’s a lot more to this story.
Through a FOIA request made by the Huffington Post, an ultimatum letter dated July 5 sent by Aetna to the Department of Justice paints a different picture of the insurers official reasons for its decision.
In the letter written by Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini, he said that his company would have "no choice" but to quit Obamacare if a planned merger with fellow insurance company, Humana, was blocked by the DOJ.
In Bertolini’s words: “It is very likely that we would need to leave the public exchange business entirely and plan for additional business efficiencies should our deal ultimately be blocked.” Bertolini went on to cite the, "additional synergies" offered by the merger as a bargaining chip for continuing to support Obamacare. But the DOJ was having none of it and promptly rejected the request. Subsequently as we learned this week, Bertolini has stayed true to his word.
So now, because Bertolini didn’t get his merger, Obamacare and ordinary Americans who need health insurance will suffer the consequences. Obamacare is already facing an uphill battle with regards to critics of the law’s sustainability. By leaving a system which relies on subsidized public-private health insurance plans, Aetna’s move will only further tip the scales in favor of Obamacare’s criticsn and drive up costs.
Aetna spokesperson T.J. Crawford claimed to the Huffington Post that the two incidents are unrelated.
“We gained full visibility into our second quarter individual public exchange results, which â€• similar to other participants on the public exchanges â€• showed a significant deterioration. That deterioration, and not the DOJ challenge to our Humana transaction, is ultimately what drove us to announce the narrowing of our public exchange presence for the 2017 plan year.”