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The CEOs of Aetna and Anthem did the health insurance consolidation dance at a U.S. Senate hearing on Sept. 22. Aetna has plans to acquire Humana, and Anthem wants to buy Cigna. Both claim the mergers will improve care and cut costs for consumers. But never in the history of health insurance mergers have prices gone down for consumers when there were less health insurance companies to compete.
Sen. Al Franken did his best to pin down Mark T. Bertolini, the chief executive of Aetna, and Joseph R. Swedish, the chief executive of Anthem, to commit that their companies would pass on any promised merger savings to consumers. Their answers were high comedy.