Opponents of UnitedHealth Groups plan to acquire Las Vegas-based Sierra Health Services have asked a federal court to reject the Justice Departments decision to allow the deal to go forward.
Separate comments were filed in U.S. District Court in Washington by the Service Employees International Union Nevada; Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani; and the American Medical Association, Nevada State Medical Association and Clark County Medical Society.
In February, the Justice Department announced a consent order with the companies allowing the $2.6 billion purchase as long as UnitedHealth shed most of its SecureHorizons Medicare Advantage business in the Las Vegas area, and Humana said it would buy it for $185 million. The consent order, though, is subject to approval by the court.
By combining the two of the three largest buyers of physician services in Clark County, the merger poses a significant threat of reducing physicians compensation and leading to an overall decrease to the level of service provided to patients, the medical groups argued in their comments.
SEIU Nevada Executive Director Jane McAlevey said in a news release that the conditions the Department of Justice has imposed on this merger do not address the communitys concerns about the possible impact on our healthcare system.
UnitedHealth spokeswoman Cheryl Randolph said in a written statement that the deal had been thoroughly reviewed and approved by the Nevada attorney general in addition to the Justice Department, and that the company is complying with the conditions set forth by both agencies. As such, we believe that the concerns raised by these groups are without merit and that the transaction, as approved, will be beneficial for all Nevadans. -- by Gregg Blesch