The Union of American Physicians and Dentists, Oakland, Calif., has asked California Attorney General Bill Lockyer to investigate the planned $16 billion merger of Blues plan giants Anthem and WellPoint Health Networks, calling the deal "a perfect storm for inflation of healthcare costs." Anthem, Indianapolis, agreed in October to acquire WellPoint, Thousand Oaks, Calif., in a deal that would create the nation's largest health insurer and bring Blues plans in 13 states under the control of a single for-profit entity. But in its letter to Lockyer, the UAPD contended the merger would give the new publicly traded company so much financial clout that it could easily raise premiums and reduce services to the detriment of patient care. The union also questioned the "bloated" $335 million compensation package earmarked for WellPoint CEO Leonard Schaeffer. "The new emphasis will be profit, profit, profit, not healthcare," wrote UAPD President Robert Weinmann. "This acquisition and other acquisitions or mergers of this kind are bad public policy, violate the spirit of antitrust, and make the usual and customary use of the word 'greed' seem like an understatement." The UAPD, an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, represents 5,000 doctors, mostly in California. -- by Laura B. Benko
Docs ask for probe of Anthem-WellPoint deal
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.