Health insurance giant Aetna said earlier this week that it would pull back from the Obamacare exchanges, citing financial losses. That generated a firestorm of criticism of the Affordable Care Act from conservative leaders, including Ted Cruz.
But a report in Huffington Post suggests that a key trigger may have been the Department of Justice’s decision to block Aetna’s potentially lucrative merger with Humana. That report included a letter from Aetna’s CEO to the DOJ with a thinly veiled threat: “[I]f the deal were challenged and/or blocked we would need to take immediate actions to mitigate public exchange and ACA small group losses.”
On social media, many are debating the following: Is Aetna’s decision to cut its support for Obamacare evidence that the exchanges are failing? Or did Aetna’s executive team use its participation as leverage to ensure its merger would be approved? The answer depends on your politics.
Another blow to Obamacare: https://t.co/kuCv6Iuxh5
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 18, 2016
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 17, 2016
Lesson for the next big insurer hoping to use Obamacare to extort the government is don’t put the threat in writing. https://t.co/zjp2ajkSef
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) August 17, 2016
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) August 17, 2016