Loss in UnitedHealth/Change Trial May Not Lower DOJ’s Deal-Blocking Appetite

Recently, UnitedHealth Group and Change Healthcare Inc. received welcome news when a federal judge ruled that their $13 billion deal could proceed despite the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s contention that it would illegally stifle competition. While it isn’t yet clear whether the DOJ will appeal the ruling, experts say the case itself offers important lessons for the health care industry and other firms mulling similar transactions.

“It was enlightening when looking at information concerns that increasingly will be the subject of antitrust challenges,” antitrust attorney David Balto tells AIS Health, a division of MMIT. “But the first time you step in the water with a somewhat novel theory, it’s going to be hard. So I think they established some good groundwork for future antitrust challenges.”

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been working in journalism since 2009 and reporting on the health care industry since 2014. She has covered the many ups and downs of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, the failed health insurer mega-mergers, and hundreds of other storylines spanning subjects such as Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage, employer-sponsored insurance, and prescription drug coverage. As the managing editor of Health Plan Weekly and Radar on Drug Benefits, she writes and edits for both publications while overseeing a small team of reporters who also focus on the managed care sector. Before joining AIS Health, she was a senior editor for the e-newsletter Fierce Health Payer, and she started her career as a copy editor at multiple local newspapers. She graduated with a dual degree in journalism and political science from Penn State University.

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