When do Republicans care about consumers over mega-corporations (or at least pretend like they do)? When the issue has something to do with Obamacare
A frenzy of healthcare mergers has given Republicans’ a new line of attack against ObamaCare, which they say is boosting profits for insurance giants at a cost to consumers.
The merger mania—evidenced most recently by a $35 billion deal announced by Aetna and Humana last week—is sparking new fears that shrinking competition in the marketplace could take away power from patients.
Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), have been quick to blame ObamaCare for planned mergers, pointing to the spate of new regulations they say make it tougher for smaller companies to survive.
Ah, McConnell leading the charge against corporate mergers to protect the consumer, just as he has done zero times in the past. As with all those other corporate mergers McConnell didn't have anything to say about, the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission will have to clear this one. And in this case, it's not at all clear
that consolidation among insurers actually is bad for the consumer, because health care isn't like other markets and because there are protections built into the law for consumers. In this case, consolidating insurers could reduce
costs for the providers they contract with, though that's not a given.
That's not a given, and it's something that Justice and the FTC will have to carefully scrutinize. What is a given, however, is that McConnell's newfound concern for the American consumer (more than 6 million of whom he would have been perfectly happy to see lose their insurance if the Supreme Court ruled his way) is bullshit.