Forbes, May 5, 2017
Bruce Japsen

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Anthem confirmed Friday it will seek a U.S. Supreme Court review of a U.S. Appeals Court’s rejection of its acquisition of Cigna CI +0.94%.

Anthem says it sees an opening in the dissenting vote in the 2-1 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that affirmed a lower federal court’s ruling that allowed the federal government to block the deal.

The U.S. Justice Department originally challenged the deal in July of last year, saying it would thwart competition, raise prices and hurt the quality of patient care. A merger of rivals Aetna AET +0.49% and Humana HUM +0.40% was also successfully challenged by the Justice Department, with the two insurers giving up on an escalated court battle earlier this year.

Anthem said in a statement that the Washington, D.C., appellate court’s decision would “limit access to high-quality, affordable care for millions of Americans and deny them more than $2 billion in medical cost savings.” The dissenting appellate judge, Brett Kavanaugh, was open to the insurer's claim that the deal would benefit consumers, particularly employer customers that the larger combined insurer would be working on behalf of, battling against doctor and hospital prices.

“Citing the circuit split over the consideration of efficiencies in merger analysis, Anthem urges that 1960s-era merger precedents relied upon by the courts below must be updated to reflect the modern understanding of economics and consumer benefit,” Anthem said Friday. [...]

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