DOJ Halts $13-Billion Merger

DOJ Halts $13-Billion Merger

( – In August 2021, rumors began swirling about the Department of Justice potentially blocking a merger between UnitedHealth and Change Healthcare. February 27 was the deadline for the department to take action. Just days earlier, the feds stepped in to the free market to try to prevent the companies from joining.

On February 24, the DOJ released a statement announcing it was suing to block the merger. The federal agency filed the lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. It claims if UnitedHealth is allowed to acquire Change, it would allegedly harm the health insurance marketplace by giving United an allegedly unfair advantage over the other insurers.

Antitrust Division Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Doha Mekki told Newsweek the merger would allow United to control a “critical data highway through which about half” of all insurance claims travel through. It would potentially allow the company to use sensitive data to gain a leg up on its competition.

UnitedHealth and Change have pledged to fight the lawsuit. United sent a statement to Newsweek saying the $13-billion merger would be better for patients by increasing efficiency and lowering costs.

Do you think one health care company should have that much power? Do you believe the federal government should get involved in the free market?

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