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Cigna-Express Scripts deal needs congressional oversight, House Democrat says

A number one House Democrat on Wednesday pushed the House Energy and Commerce Committee to look into Cigna’s recent $67 billion proposal to buy Express Scripts, calling on Congress to flex its oversight muscle on healthcare consolidation.

Citing the committee’s duty to think about modifications to the healthcare area and the way they’ll have an effect on customers, House Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) requested committee Chair Greg Walden (R-Ore.) to name a listening to targeted on the proposed merger, which critics say will bring in hefty profits for the insurer that aren’t likely to trickle down into consumer savings.

Cigna mentioned on March eight it plans to purchase Express Scripts, the most important pharmacy profit supervisor within the U.S., for $52 billion in money. The provider would additionally assume $15 billion in debt. The proposed deal follows an identical transfer by Aetna and CVS Health, which nonetheless needs regulators’ approval.

UnitedHealth Group has its personal pharmacy profit supervisor, Optum Rx.

“Due to the scale of the proposed Cigna-Express Scripts and CVS-Aetna deals, these changes should be thoroughly scrutinized and understood by the members of this committee,” Pallone wrote. “To best understand the matter, it would be in this committee’s best interest to hear directly from representatives of the companies involved, in addition to other perspectives.”

Pallone beforehand referred to as for an oversight listening to into the Aetna-CVS Health deal in December. The Energy and Commerce Committee convened a basic inquiry into consolidation inside the trade in February, together with a take a look at the Aetna deal.

This time, Pallone mentioned he needs to dwelling in on mega-mergers that mix historically separate traces inside the trade, suppliers and carriers.

Pallone acknowledged that UnitedHealth has beforehand delved into the PBM area, however mentioned the Aetna-CVS and Cigna-Express Scripts offers significantly concern him due to their scale and the market share at stake.

“The Cigna acquisition is likely the largest; Express Scripts is the largest PBM in the country, responsible for the drug plans of more than 80 million Americans, including Medicare Part D and Tricare,” Pallone mentioned.

A GOP Energy and Commerce spokesperson mentioned the committee is contemplating the following steps following the February listening to and continues “to keep an eye on these issues and their impacts on the cost of healthcare.”

About Zeeshan Iqbal Soomro

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